Jordan Brand’s ‘Dual-Gender Offense’ Is a Bold Step Forward for Sneakers
When it comes to icons of the sneaker world, Jordan Brand isn't exactly hurting. The Air Jordan 1 is, after all, the shoe that put us on the path to the booming sneaker world we know today. And the styles that followed have become mainstays of the culture as well. The question, though, isn't what the brand got right in the past—it's how the company is moving into the future while still respecting those roots.
At least, that's what I wanted to know when I spoke with Jordan's VP of design David Creech this summer in Paris, where the brand was showcasing its fall 2018 collection during fashion week. With so much in the archives, and with fans so dedicated to the OG designs, how does a sneaker company keep things feeling fresh? How do the designers keep the old icons alive while creating new ones for a younger generation?
There are no easy answers to these questions. Luckily, Creech was willing to give it a shot. From embracing Jordan's female fan base to creating new riffs on the classics, here's how he's helping shape the brand's future.
David Creech, vice president of design of Jordan Brand
He recognizes it's a balancing act.
I think it's a fine line, but it’s a great opportunity for us. How do we keep stretching for the future? Because in design, we have to be about the future. Make no mistake about it: Because we’re fortunate enough to be the Jordan brand, we have the assets and the icons to really tap into, when we need to. So is there a scripted formula? Probably not. But I think it’s something that we constantly, the designers and the brand, have to keep pushing and moving forward in order to really create for the next generation.
A selection from the Jordan Brand lineup.
The brand is making some big moves for fall 2018.
One of the big brand statements is "Love the game." Even in '85 when MJ came to the brand, he loved the game. So we take that kind of approach. Like, OK, let's focus on that. And then we evolve, whether it's a dual-gender offense, or how we can take the classic icons and reimagine them through collaborations, or remaster them through distortion, whether it's for our women's consumer or our men's consumer.
Jordan Brand women’s ambassador Billie Eilish.
He thinks women in the sneaker world have been underserved in the past.
We're going beyond just sizing things down. We have a women's design and product team that's solely focused on size, comfort, fit, aesthetic, trend, and pushing all that toward the future of Jordan women's. And on that front, we will have some icons where we'll reimagine them for her from a pure shape and proportion standpoint, but it'll look like the classic. But then, like the Rebel, we'll start to distort it or remaster it. I think the women's consumer has shown a lot of love for the brand in the past just by sizing down our men's. For us, it's just a commitment to move forward and show her that same love back.
He also sees guys asking how they can get women's styles.
It’s important for our job to understand feedback. Let's use the Shattered Backboard Satin, for example. That shoe, there were so many people asking how to get that in men's sizes. Men were trying to get that shoe. I think it’s a classic silhouette, the AJ1, but they also want what they can’t have. And we love that.
The Air Jordan 1 Shattered Backboard Satin.
He thinks the brand will evolve by remembering its roots.
The biggest thing for me is just going to back to "Love the Game." This idea of court, culture, and community. We’re assessing that as a team, as a brand. Then you take that dual-gender offense; that's a huge opportunity for us as a brand, and I truly am excited about that. And the biggest opportunity for us is constantly obsessing and scripting the future. How do you take the classics and reimagine and remaster them while also creating the future? I think that’s very important and a huge opportunity for us. That's what I'm excited about.
He doesn't love the word "challenges."
I always say opportunities, man. [Laughs] And I think the opportunity is the future.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.