Patta On Collaborating With Jordan Brand
The co-founder and creative director of the Dutch label explain the apparel capsule and Air Jordan VII.
Since opening in Amsterdam in 2004, Patta has become synonymous with Dutch streetwear. Before making it official, founders Edson Sabajo and Guillaume “Gee” Schmidt had been making clothes as a hobby, mainly to dress themselves and their friends. At the same time, they were DJing, traveling and collecting sneakers and hip-hop records — gathering inspiration for what would become the label’s eclectic, cross-cultural identity.
Following multiple collaborations with Nike and the opening of a London store in 2016, Patta has now collaborated with Jordan Brand on a capsule that includes the Air Jordan VII, a track suit, shorts, T-shirt and bucket hat. They went into the archives to expand their existing knowledge of (and love for) MJ’s ‘92 swag before coming up with a striking combination of colors and patterns.
Patta and Jordan Brand also decided to package the shoes in a white box with an illustration of the shoe on top — a way of further distinguishing it in one’s collection.
Here, co-founder Guillaume “Gee” Schmidt and creative director Vincent van de Waal describe the design process and their love for the Air Jordan VII.
What does it mean for Patta to collaborate with Jordan Brand?
Guillaume: It is very special, you know!
Vincent: It is quite an honor to be able to work with Jordan Brand. It’s been a dream for us. Since I was a kid, I wanted to work on a shoe, and I’ve been a big fan.
When did you both first encounter the brand or MJ?
Guillaume: I used to play basketball. I started out with other shoes by Nike, mainly because of budgetary reasons. When I got older, I started wearing Air Jordans, especially the VIIs and the Vs. I have a lot of nostalgia with sport, basketball and hip-hop music.
Vincent: It was the same for me. I used to play basketball outside — never for a club, always just in the street. When I was about eight years old, stores began to sell sneakers from America, including Jordans, which were a bit more special than everything else on the market. For me, the shoes reflected the combination of MJ’s elegance and greatness as a player.
Guillaume: It was elevated. MJ’s moves and how he looked on the court were something else. When the new Jordans came out, and you put them on your feet, it was like being in an action movie and being able to jump over anything.
Vincent: Also, you have to imagine that, back then, you never saw anything coming. Where I come from, there was just one store, and I ran to that store a couple times a week just to see what came in.
Why did you want to collaborate on the Air Jordan VII, in particular?
Vincent: Well, the Air Jordan VII was the first model that didn’t have external Nike branding on it. It also didn’t have visible Air. For us to have our logo on the midsole, and Team Patta on the heel, felt very big for us.
Guillaume: The VII is a very specific shoe, it sticks out, and therefore it’s not for everybody. Most people prefer the I, the III, the IV or the V. When the shoe came out, it was a golden era for hip-hop, too. A lot of very important albums came out between ’92 and ’96. Aesthetically, those years had such a strong, colorful and connected relationship to black empowerment. The VII also has a reference to African art.
Vincent: Because it was the seventh shoe, it became a bit more elegant, I would say. When we started the conversation, we both immediately said, “The VII.” It is my all-time favorite shoe, and he was thinking the same. So, it was actually pretty simple.
How did you choose the colors for the collection?
Vincent: We took a good look at past colorways that we love. We identified the Black/Light Graphite one from ‘92 that has a touch of Bordeaux. We asked ourselves, “Why does this work so well?” We made a couple of simple rules for where the light and dark colors would go, and then we made a color scheme that’s not typical of an Air Jordan. We wanted to make it a bit warmer, a bit more soulful. I think this is the first time that a logo is placed on the sole, too. Perhaps it can be the “sister shoe” of the OG.
Guillaume: The apparel is also out of this world, you know! It has the same color scheme. The shorts and the T-shirt are inspired by what MJ wore in ‘92.
Vincent: The tracksuit, for example, really draws from back then. People who know are really going to appreciate all the detailing. For the people who don’t know, it’s still a really dope tracksuit. There’s also African inspiration for the original stuff that we like and wanted to keep, in a way. The bucket hat adds some flavor, too.
Patta employees, Bernard Lijte and Giano Codrington, wearing the collection
Why was it important to put “Team Patta” on the heel?
Vincent: Throughout our entire history, “Team Patta” has always been important. We see ourselves as a strong team, where everybody has their place. It felt right for this project. Our team operates like a family. We take care of each other.
Guillaume: Team Patta is a big group of people, including all of our consumers, who all have the same values. Values like independence and having love for everyone are important to us. If you support us, you’re part of the extended family, and we want you to feel like you’re a part of something.
Vincent: And it doesn’t matter where you’re from, who you are, what color you are or what gender you are. It’s all good to us.
The Patta x Jordan Brand Collection is available starting June 15 on Jordan.com, SNKRS and at select retailers. Learn more about the Air Jordan VII on Jordan Collection.