Jordan Brand x Carmelo Anthony x rag & bone
Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Wainwright tell the story behind their new capsule collaboration with Jordan Brand.
Carmelo Anthony is known for his love of the game on the court. Off the court, Anthony is constantly engaged in the ever-changing culture at large, particularly in his hometown of New York City.
It was in NYC, in 2009, that Anthony met Marcus Wainwright, the founder and Chief Brand Officer of rag & bone. Though they grew up on opposite sides of the Atlantic — Anthony in Brooklyn and Wainwright in England — they bonded over their love for basketball, Jordans and fashion. Eight years later, they came up with an idea to do an apparel and footwear collaboration with Jordan Brand, initially based on their shared vision for an updated Air Jordan XX. Both believed the shoe was aesthetically ahead of its time, especially Anthony, who wore it on-court.
“When I look at different pieces in my closet, I am constantly thinking about how I would have made them differently,” says Anthony. “The AJXX was ahead of its time. Isn’t that what fashion is? It pulls you in. This is a shoe that I always liked, but maybe it didn’t get its fair moment. I wanted to bring it back, rework it and re-introduce it.”
In brainstorming a contemporary design, Wainwright was drawn to the polarizing design aspects of the original shoe. “Every Jordan has been ahead of its time, to some extent,” he says. “The AJXX was a shoe that divided opinion. The ankle strap was one of the most controversial yet defining elements of the shoe.”
Anthony, Wainwright and the Jordan design team recalled the days when people would cut off the AJXX’s ankle straps. They decided to create removable ankle straps and a Velcro upper strap to satisfy that desire for adaptability. They also chose a thicker, ribbed version of Flyknit often used on Nike Football boots. Lastly, they tapped into rag & bone’s history of military-inspired garments and applied details from classic bomber jackets throughout the capsule, including zig-zag sewing, nylon, reflectivity, removable patches and an olive, black and orange palette.
The design process took a year of exchanging sketches and samples. “This collaboration was an exercise in getting really deep on the details, and then perfecting fit, comfort and shape,” says Gemo Wong, Jordan Senior Design Director of Special Projects. “We wanted the end result to feel classic but also futuristic.”
The Jordan Brand x Carmelo Anthony x rag & bone capsule is available starting September 29 from select retailers.