I Spent An Entire Day Breaking Bread with Mr. Cartoon and Nike Sportswear Celebrating 45 Years of Cortez

photos & words // Ray P.:

Being born and raised in NYC, I never understood the Nike Cortez because we didn’t wear those. However, we always respected the silhouette because it was the Air Force 1 of the West Coast. This shoe is an example of a product that transcends sport and is representative of a culture. As a new resident of the city of angels, I can’t think of a better way to be welcomed to Los Angeles than with legendary tattoo artist Mark Machado, more famously known as Mr. Cartoon, celebrating 45 years of the Nike Cortez.

Kicking off the two part experience, Nike arranged lunch at Guelaguetza, Mr. Cartoon’s favorite Mexican restaurant, serving a special catered menu that included Mole, Quesillo Fundido, Empandas, and fresh fruit refreshments.

While enjoying all these cultured dishes, which by the way would get a 5-star review on Yelp from me, Mr. Cartoon broke down his connection to the Nike Cortez and how the sneaker became assimilated to culture. From being recognized as the choice of footwear for notorious gangs to being the go-to shoe for students, cheerleaders, and common people alike, the Cortez now in 2017 is symbolic of style with lots of heritage behind it.

We were into Low Riders and we looked at the Cortez as a car for our feet. We would find different ways to trick it out and that had a lot to do with getting creative with our pants that had starch ironed creases.

While recognizing what the Nike Cortez meant in decades prior, Mr. Cartoon is very accepting of all the new materials, shapes, and themes placed on the silhouette to keep it alive. Some may think hipsters are ruining the Cortez, but Mr. Cartoon loves how you don’t have to be scared to wear the shoe anymore. In fact, during our lunch Nike previewed a new collaborative collection designed by Cartoon that won’t debut until July. All I can say for now is Cortez lovers will go crazy about the details and the people of Los Angeles will be drooling.

Capping off the lunch, Nike and Mr. Cartoon gifted me my first pair of Cortez. Of course I had to have the OG sign the pair. What a true honor it was. Soon after Cartoon pulled out his low rider for a photo op.

Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, Nike brought me to Delicious Pizza for an exclusive pop-up party which hit max capacity in no more than half hour. Sounds provided by Soulection and DJ Mustard coupled with sangria, modelo beer, and tons of food on deck turned the party into an serious dance pit. And how could I forget a small bodega in a corner of the venue with free snacks, drinks and all the candy you could possibly want.

Los Angeles has a lot of love for the Cortez and I could show you better than I could tell you. Browse ahead as I recap my day and night with Nike Sportswear and Mr. Cartoon for the 45th anniversary celebration of the Nike Cortez.

Continue browsing for an exclusive inside look at the Nike Sportswear Delicious Cortez Pop-up Party

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