Evan Chisholm

If the Shoe Fits

Evan Chisholm, Fashion Merchandising Management ’14, uses consumer insights to help evolve styles at Nike 

By Ashley Festa

Although the pandemic has put Evan Chisholm’s globetrotting on indefinite hold, it hasn’t stopped him from making sure Nike’s offerings match what people around the world want.

Before COVID-19 hit, Chisholm had been visiting Nike’s partners in various geographic regions. As the global merchandising manager for women’s lifestyle footwear, Chisholm gathers information from consumer and influencer focus groups about their lifestyles and preferences. Then he and Nike’s product team use those insights to develop new product lines. For example, Nike wanted to revisit some key styles from 25 years ago with a retro basketball shoe, and Chisholm discovered that consumers found these looks antiquated. He helped devise a workaround.

“We introduced a never-before-seen upper pattern for the Air Foamposite One,” he says. “By giving the shoe a new feature, we allowed the consumer to reset the value of something they previously considered old and outdated.”

To develop a product that will be successful around the world, Chisholm relies on the relationships he has built with Nike’s partners. 

“You have to truly listen,” he says. “All partners represent a different region of the world and may have very different views on new product opportunities. It’s my job to find the commonalities so we can satisfy the needs of the global consumer with our designs.”

Fashion has always been an important part of Chisholm’s life. Early in his career, he founded an urban contemporary clothing company, FamCo Clothing, centered on his love of hip hop and streetwear. He modeled the styles of his favorite artists and athletes—from rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West to basketball stars LeBron James and Allen Iverson. 

When he closed his company, Chisholm applied to FIT, because it was “in the heart of New York City—the streetwear and fashion capital.” In his final year, he received the National Retail Federation Foundation’s prestigious Ray Greenly Scholarship. The $25,000 scholarship is awarded to students pursuing degrees related to digital retail and who push the boundaries of what is possible now and in the future. “What excites me about the field of digital retailing is just the endless possibilities,” he says.