Did you know, “Be True To Your School” was Nike’s first attempt at marketing the Nike Dunk. It offered Division I college basketball teams and their respective fans a way to don their team’s colours.
This was a clever tactic, allowing Nike to organically market the Dunk on and beyond the confines of college arenas – championing a non-competitive approach to sport as well as school loyalties – and help the brand reap the benefits of the collegiate basketball leagues’ growing popularity.
The decade that followed the Dunk High’s first release saw the sneaker go through some subtle and yet integral changes. Skate culture was becoming a growing scene and Nike wanted in. The problem was that those cruising on their boards identified Nike as another large corporation attempting to enter their world.
Skaters gravitated to the Nike Dunks once they’d fallen out of favor elsewhere. By the early 1990s, the Dunks were being sold at discount stores and neglected in dusty attics. This allowed the model to take on a life of its own, finding a new home within the New York skate scene.