John Hoke Talks about his Life

John Hoke

John Hoke is the current design officer of Nike where he is in charge of over 1,000 designers. Just the other day, he had an opportunity to sit down with the New York Times where he discussed his life and career. When he was asked about his earliest involvement with Nike, he said that he used their products back in the 70s as a kid. Back then, he was a runner and used the Nike waffle trainer shoe. He said that he would cut the shoe into two halves to observe how the shoe was made. John Hoke mentions that he loves to draw. As a result, he has sketches in his office that consist of architectural retail spaces, quick body sketches as well as sneakers. He describes himself as a dyslexic who uses drawing as his first language. He further recalls that he was never interested in text or essays as a young man. He said that he used to communicate by doodling. At the same time, the Nike executive says that he is a good listener when his hands are busy. During the interview, John Hoke talked about how his job was different from that of a designer. He says that he is the leader and therefore, he is in charge of everyone. It’s his responsibility to orchestrate and direct over 1,000 creative designers at the company.

He further says that the job he does is not for everyone. Instead, it’s for people who share the common goals like him. He also discussed his role in the design process. He notes that the design process begins with apparel design and heads of footwear. He has to consult with Kurt Parker and Andy Caine respectively. At the beginning of every season, they have to announce their creative direction. This is a process that involves 1,000 people. During the course of the process, he says that he has to catch up with the rough sketches that have been made by his team. The rough sketches are followed by three-dimensional models as well as design review. He said that before a commodity can be released to the market, it must face a lot of scrutiny. When asked whether ego gets in the way in his line of work, he said that design is a world that is characterized by egos where you are passionate about releasing your product to the market. He says that he loves cruising, biking and walking.

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