I recently ran into the work of Mark Steven at the Nike Store in Soho, which lead me to his site, where I found a blog post that he wrote on unsolicited redesigns. In his post which I would recommend reading. He connects his own unsolicited redesign of Dunkin Donuts in 2010, it's posting to Armin Vit's Brand New Site on April Fools, to a self defined kickstarted project to one of his latest client engagements working directly for Nike on an installation in their SoHo store.
What I take away from this, is that you make your own opportunities. If you don't have the relationships, but you have the talent, the time, and the ambition. You can make something, put it out there, and build an an audience, and the confidence to do more. You can choose to borrow the skin and reputation of a large american brand, as Mark did with Dunkin Donuts, as a redesign, or you can interpret something meaningful in your life like a sneaker. If you stay focused, and motivated there are larger opportunities ahead.