Loudoun County native and Nike aficionado making a name for himself across the globe
He owns his own business with locations in two states, lives in sunny Los Angeles with his girlfriend and new baby boy, and he's struck relationships with some of the most creative minds in the world.
But Wotherspoon's success wasn't sparked by some world-changing invention or innovative idea, and his trade – vintage sneakers and apparel – isn't particularly glamorous.
Nevertheless, the Loudoun County High School graduate has prospered. When you get down to it, Wotherspoon has prospered because of one indisputable fact: The dude loves Nike.
“I'm extremely, extremely, extremely obsessive. And I find as much of this certain product as possible,” he says. “And I don't stop until I have the best collection of it.”
The sneakerhead's decades-long relationship with Nike reached new heights last month when he won the acclaimed brand's worldwide Vote Forward shoe design contest.
“For the first time ever, Nike invited the leading artists from the Air Max community to co-create with its designers and bring to life their visions for the future of air,” a company statement notes. “Like the original Air Max, these designs challenge the status quo and embrace the spirit of creative revolution.”
Wotherspoon’s Air Max 97 x Air Max 1, which features a corduroy finish inspired by vintage Nike hats from the 1980s, beat out designs from artists in New York, Turkey, China, Russia and the U.K, among others.
By this time next year, Wotherspoon's shoe will be on shelves.
“My dreams came true,” he told the Times-Mirror.
Nike flew the competitors to its world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, in March, where the artists, designers, DJs and retailers were tasked with re-imagining Nike Air Max styles .
“Working side by side on my final design with a Nike sneaker designer who designed the pair of sneakers I was wearing on my feet at the time, very cool,” Wotherspoon said.
He and his partners launched their vintage Nike store, Round Two, in Richmond in 2013, and the company expanded to Melrose Avenue in L.A. two years ago.
While Wotherspoon didn't live through the 1980s and was a youngster through the 1990s, Wotherspoon expresses nostalgia about the Nike culture of yesteryear.
“Obviously in the 90s it was really sick. The sneaker thing was really sick then,” he says in a YouTube video produced by Nike. “You weren't just going on the Internet finding things. Dudes in the 90s were hunting [expletive] down. You have a story behind you hunting them down – it's like a cool thing. You keep that for life. The story's with you for life ... Sneakers are like your children, and all you want to know is that it's going to a good home.”
Wotherspoon's parents, John Wotherspoon and Maralyn Smith, still live in Leesburg. Smith said she remembers putting “lots of miles on my car driving to places just looking for that – what do they say – 'dope find.'”
“He's had this passion for this as long as I can remember,” Smith said. “It's amazing all the stuff is coming back. And it's just timeless for him. There's nothing better for a parent to see a child living their dream.”
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