Year of the Dragon Nike Air Force 1's collab by Wang Zhijun. Photo by NeoCha.

In honor of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon representing power and luck for 2012, we take a look at some creative footwear coming out of China and latest trends in collaborations.

First, celebrating 30 years of Nike being in China and 30 years of the Nike Air Force 1, Beijing designer Wang Zhijun created a customized Year of the Dragon Nike Air Force 1’s and an iPhone 4 case out of bamboo.

Bamboo case comes with the collaboration.

According to NeoCha, a creative collective from Shanghai and Beijing, the concept of the design on the sneakers comes from “Dragon and Sea” folktales called the Eight Trigrams and the five elements. To design these sneakers he used traditional Chinese pyrography along with modern laser cutting.

The details include:
• The ocean wave pattern that covers the toe section represents everything in the world coming from the sea.
• The placement of the dragon scale patterns (from the Nike Swoosh logo, to the tongue, around the upper, etc.) implies that the dragon is inside the sneaker.
• A fusion of the Chinese character 卅 (meaning ”30″) with the letters “A,” “F,” and “1″ can be found on the inside of the heel to represent 30 years of Air Force 1s and Nike in China.
• On the outside heel (and on the shoe box lid) is a fusion of The Eight Trigrams and 龙, the Chinese character for Dragon, as 2012 is the Year of the Dragon.
• A five-toe dragon claw is crafted around the Nike Swoosh logo on the back heel.
• The shoes are accessorized with metallic and wooden lace buckles, one with the 卅 fusion symbol, the other with Wang Zhijun’s personal design logo.
• The wooden shoe box was designed and assembled with traditional tenon-and-mortise techniques, and accented with a laser-cut graphic treatment.
• The shoes are packaged together with a bamboo iPhone 4S case (also accented with a laser-cut graphic treatment) and an additional set of custom lace buckles.
• Throughout the pack, you can find The Five Elements: metal — the metallic buckles; “wood” — the wooden box; “water” — the sea wave pattern: “fire” — the pyrography and laser techniques; “earth” — the magnet on the shoe box lid.

Origami inpsired footwear from NUO.

Other interesting designs come from China designers in street culture include the latest NUO origami inspired shoe.

The London-based designer is a Shanghai native and creates these shoes following the flow of creating origami pieces. But obviously, these are wearable.

See also our China Youth Culture Studies for more information. Stay tuned for more on China youth culture and the expansion of U.S. brands seeking new markets in China is our upcoming China Profile Report 2012.