Jordan teamed up with street artist KAWS for the first time, resulting in an incredibly stylish, understated design (by way of black on black graphics), with sleek nods to each brand’s trademark. As explained by Gemo Wong, Senior Design Director for Special Projects at the Jordan Brand, “We look for collaboration partners that meet our standard of greatness.” Of course he is paying homage to the Michael Jordan, the man behind the brand, who himself rose above what is now seen as an unlikely and astonishing part of his own story: failing to make his high school basketball team.
KAWS meanwhile has been an unlikely super success. He began gaining steam (and global awareness) in a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race type of way. His bubbly, pop art figures with x’s for eyes have become highly recognizable across everything from art installations to clothing, to bite-sized action figures that could call your desk home, or be a part of a dynamic collection (for those dedicated souls). Just this year, KAWS has collaborated not only with the Jordan brand, but also one with global style phenom Uniqlo.
The collection is grounded in the KAWS x Air Jordan 4, and they are one slick pair of sneakers. It’s a recognizable silhouette, but the plastic accents typically found on the design have been replaced, the entire uppers are made of luxe grey suede, and the outsoles actually glow-in-the-dark. KAWS’s trademark “XX” is boldly featured on a hangtag from the left lace. To accompany the stylish sneakers is a black satin coach’s jacket, black hoodie, t-shirt, and 5-panel cap, which just happens to be the headwear of choice for the impressive street artist.