Jeff Staple has made a name for himself — quite literally — with his label STAPLE, founded in 1997. The brand was one of the first to draw mass demand and attention from mainstream media, forecasting the crazed streetwear culture of today, and continues to churn out designs focused on STAPLE’s infamous pigeon logo.
In the 25 years since founding STAPLE, Jeff has plastered his pigeon motif onto Nike SB Dunks, suede Puma sneakers, Warren Lotas customs, and most recently, Crocs. The designer can’t seem to pass up any collaboration offered to him, so it’s no surprise that Staple has teamed up with Anicorn Watches to create a “Space Pigeon” watch and accompanying custom sneakers.
Out of this world — The partnership, nicknamed Project Artemis, honors zero-gravity space expeditions and subsequently features cosmic patterns and gravity-defying details across the watch. Its timepiece boasts a minimal gray design inspired by moon rock, while orange accents on the dial and crown mimic the “International Orange” color of spacesuits.
Officially dubbed Artemis Time, the watch also flaunts a special project logo centered around the initial “A,” which here stands for both Artemis and Anicorn. Spacecraft roll patterns, NASA branding, and an upside-down Zero Gravity “Space Pigeon” finish off the timepiece. Only 250 of the watches have been made, making the Artemis Time as rare as an actual trip to space.
Staple’s “Space Pigeon” sneakers rival the watch’s rarity with only 25 pairs available. The shoes’ design replicates that of the timepiece, sporting gray leather panels accented by hits of “International Orange” on the heels, lace dubraes, branding, and dog tag ball chains. An upside-down version of Staple’s pigeon logo appears at the heel in orange, while a metallic version of the motif hangs off the lace unit. Checkered spacecraft roll patterns at the forefoot finish off the design as co-branding appears on the tongue tags.
Creative or copycat? — It’s worth noting the “Space Pigeon” sneakers are essentially a custom pair of Nike’s Air Force 1, although it’s unclear whether the brand actually approved the shoes for modification and sale. In the past few months, Nike has taken on a newly aggressive stance against customs, doling out cease-and-desist orders and lawsuits like never before. Designers like John Geiger and Warren Lotas have been targeted alongside smaller creators customizing Air Force 1s as the Swoosh defends its intellectual property.
Staple’s “Space Pigeon” sneakers could easily be labeled as a bootleg by Nike, especially considering the designer’s stance on customs. When the sneaker giant hit fellow designer Warren Lotas with multiple lawsuits for an off-brand version of Staple’s own “Pigeon” Dunk, Staple indirectly defended Lotas, saying: “I’m always a fan of DIY bootleg culture. I just love it… That’s how Staple started. To me, that’s where true creativity happens.” Whether Nike sees his “Space Pigeon” sneakers as creativity or a copyright infringement has yet to be seen.
A pricy release — Project Artemis launches on April 19 at 10 a.m. ET, giving people a chance to score the limited edition Artemis Time watch and “Space Pigeon” sneakers exclusively on Anicorn Watches’ website. The timepiece is set to retail for $780, which coincidentally is also the price of Staple’s sneakers. Each pair will only be available via raffle, with entry allotted via the purchase of an Artemis Time watch. A total of 25 winners will be selected at the end of May.