Instead of the traditional rotation of collaborations with athletes and rappers, Jordan Brand introduced a new face this weekend. On Saturday, Jordan released a very limited collaboration with historically celebrated streetwear store Union LA. The release featured two different Air Jordan 1’s as well as a collection of hoodies, crewnecks, t-shirts, sweatpants, and several other pieces.
You See The Shoes
The collaboration was uncovered in a way that felt unconventional and new, via the Union LA Instagram and a teaser video of the shoes at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The Jordans were placed in a range of other vintage sneakers at their booth and were framed up to be an old Union Jordan collab being resold. As people walk up and observe the shoes, everyone is taken aback – obviously the desired reaction. Union fans instantly started calling the shoes fake and stating they’d never seen the collab. Emily Oberg can be seen negotiating with the seller, even asking if the shoes are fake: “If they’re fake… do I get my money back?” In the final scene of the promo, the collaboration is shrugged off by a passersby in disbelief that the shoe had ever released. The banksy-esque promo was the perfect way to get the word started on what could be considered a new vintage collection. Shop the shoes here.
The shoes themselves are a direct homage to DIY culture. They feature a mash-up of two shoes, deconstructed and then reconstructed, emphasized by the intentionally and easily visible stitching pulling the two pieces into one shoe. Union owner Chris Gibbs wanted to create something that reminded him of “finding your most coveted pair of sneakers at the flea market and then elevating it by combining it with another pair to create a unique 1-of-1”.
A Tastemaker’s Tastemaker
Gibbs himself is a unique 1-of-1. A tastemaker, often on the cutting-edge of what’s cool. Chris’ store, Union, was started in 1990 by James Jebbia and Mary Ann Fusco, and is widely considered the birthplace of streetwear in LA. He now proudly carries the torch, having been the first store to house many now-popular brands (most notably, OFF-WHITE and Pyrex before them). The store now carries every cool brand you can imagine (think Noah, Brain Dead, Fear of God, etc.).
The shoes have been the breadwinners of the collaboration so far (reselling at times for over $1000 USD on StockX) but Gibbs doesn’t want us to forget about the clothing. Last year, Union released their first collection of the store’s in-house brand and they’ve since collaborated with Dickies, Kaws, and now Jordan. At Union, one can find many recognizable streetwear brands but what stands out is the wide range of Japanese options. On the Blamo! Podcast, Gibbs explains the origin of this affection: “To me, the Japanese streetwear scene for lack of a better term was where I first started to see you could take this t-shirt, hoodie, jean that’s my uniform and just make it better.” For the Union namesake brand, Chris believes he can do the same thing, but at a lower price point.
Don’t Forget The Clothes
In a quote pulled from Nike News, it seems Chris is intent on providing a high-quality streetwear product via the Jordan Brand collaboration as well: “One of the things we worked on was the drape,” said Gibbs. “I’ve learned from buying and selling a lot of high fashion that once you get through your normal silhouette of a t-shirt and a jean — garments that everybody can kind of do — there is really a lot of attention placed on how garments fall on the body.”
The collaboration contains tee shirts, hoodies, crewnecks, a quarter-zip warm-up, shorts, and sweatpants – all of which have been washed and distressed to give a worn-in and vintage look. Even the logos and screenprints look as if they’ve been exposed to the elements, showing cracking and fading. The tees look exactly like something you’d pull off a rack at a vintage store and the hoodies are faded around the seams like they’ve been worn 100 times. Meticulously created, this vintage style clothing is perfect for the fashion-conscious consumer of today. But in reality, the clothes are perfect for all of us. Made well and made to look effortless – sounds like a killer tagline.
Shop the whole collection here.