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Adidas AG (ADS) - Get Alliance Data Systems Corporation Report may have the stronghold on classic sneakers right now, but that doesn't mean Nike Inc. (NKE) - Get NIKE, Inc. Class B Report can't try.

Nike launched this week its collaboration with designer Virgil Abloh, who will redesign Nike's 10 classic sneakers--including the Air Jordan 1 and the VaporMax--for a collection dubbed THE TEN. To kick off the occasion, Nike put on a three-day installation celebrating the 10 sneakers in a warehouse space on Wall Street.

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The installation, which was open to the public between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8, was anchored by an invisible Michael Jordan mid-dunk to feature the Jordan 1s. Nike paid homage to the Converse sneakers--a brand it acquired in 2003--through a tall pile of photos of different people donning the shoes. The VaporMax had its own wall of vapor--literally.

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The art installation was accompanied by panels, half of which were moderated by Abloh. Guests included the likes of director Spike Lee, musician Brendan Fowler and photographer Atiba Jefferson.

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In the first panel on Friday, Sept. 8, for instance, Abloh sat down with rapper Vince Staples and his childhood friend Sage Elsesser, a professional skateboarder. In a conversation livestreamed on the Nike website, the three waxed nostalgic over Converse Chuck Taylors.

Staples, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he bought his first pair--classic black lace-ups--for $30 at a swap meet. The sneakers are classics because of their accessibility, he added. "They stayed the same for almost a fucking century."

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Upstairs, Nike offered a sparse selection of products: two $75 short sleeve t-shirts, two $100 long sleeve t-shirts, a hoody for $130, a large tote for $50, caps in four colors for $50 each and a $150 toolkit.

Customers could only view the products from a wall display. As soon as they entered the space, they were shepherded into a line that eventually led to four or five cash registers. 

"It's like a museum," one guest said to another, as they walked out the door with matching Nike totes.

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