If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how to be resourceful. And that’s exactly what TV personality and NFL Super Bowl Champion Victor Cruz and French designer Pierre Hardy did when teaming up for their second collection.
Entirely conceived over video conference, this time around was easier for Cruz, who told FN that, “now that we have built our friendship and rapport, we had more freedom to express our preferences while developing the collection.”
Hardy echoed that sentiment: “While I was stuck in Paris and Victor was in the U.S., it would have been much more difficult to do this collection if we didn’t know one another like we do. And because we trust each other, it became much easier to design what we wanted.”
As for the collection itself, which has expanded to include women’s, it was very much inspired by the events that shook the world in the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd. The duo wanted this collaboration to serve as a symbol of unity and an artistic contribution to the fight against systemic racism. The Black Lives Matter movement vibrated across the world in 2020, and this design, according to Cruz, is a reflection of the cultural shift that is actively taking place now and is intended to provoke dialogue through design.
Built around the imperative topics of equality, equity and inclusion, each colorway of the new four-piece V.C.II sneaker range has a meaning, Cruz told FN as he walked us through the collection.
The new black-on-back high-top “Majesty” sneaker represents the notion of black excellence. It is a classic sneaker intended to be a symbol of fortitude for young people. The red “Tribe” sneaker signifies “a community linked by blood ties or a common culture, typically with a recognized leader.” The camo-print “Survivor” sneaker evokes the spirit of the fight for social justice in the U.S., while the orange stripes pay homage to Victor Cruz’s father’s firefighter uniform. Finally, the blue, white and red “Boricua” sneaker is a nod to Cruz’s Puerto Rican heritage.
Asked about what they’ve each learned along the way when developing this collection, Hardy told FN that working with Cruz helped him understand how to bring two visions into one product. “When designing, I am usually singing ‘a capella,’ you know, but working with Victor we have to sing together in order to balance each of our ideas out. It was a challenge for me, but I really enjoyed it.”
“Having worked with Nike in the past, Pierre taught me a different way of making shoes. The high level of design that he achieves in his work is really inspiring,” said Cruz.
As for future projects, Cruz told FN, “We are focusing on this collection first, making sure the launch goes well. But who knows — I wouldn’t mind getting in the design saddle again.”