VIRGIL ABLOH – RETURN TO THE AIR JORDAN 1
"Michael Jordan is my superman." IMAGES: MATTHEW OLIVER
For many, the Jumpman has taken on almost a supernatural symbolism.
Among communities on courts world-wide, Jordan’s pursuit of the higher standard of greatness is a push to continually defy expectation.
For designer Virgil Abloh, it’s about creating ‘things’ that move as much as the music that he plays.
From architecture to creative direction, music and now fashion, Abloh’s work has come to fruition in a world where there are global audiences for the local.
Abloh has a fascination with objects that transcend both – bringing him continually back to the Air Jordan 1.
Born in the ’80s, Abloh grew up in Illinois watching his “local basketball player” Michael Jordan. “Going to those games, seeing [Jordan] play, these shoes meant something to us,” he recalls.
“Back then, we weren’t traveling to see that he was a global figure. Now it’s 2018 and we’re talking about the Jordan 1 that’s obviously an important piece of design.”
A clever way perhaps to introduce his latest collaboration with Jordan/Nike, a white out reworked version of the iconic Jordan 1. A collage between art, fashion and sportswear; unstitched and raw.
However, it is important to Abloh that his audience understand the symbolism of the original shoe. “The white version released was actually the very first version I did, before the Chicago.
I changed it at the last minute because if everyone in the world saw the white version first it wouldn’t have been tied to the heritage of the Jordan 1. Now, you can understand the design and appreciate the white version.”
As Abloh is revered for creating timeless new interpretations, when it comes to Jordan he is quick, once again, to reference an original.
He talks about Michael Jordan as the ultimate figure of mobility; not just in a literal sense as one of history’s greatest athletes, but in a social and cultural sense.
“Michael Jordan is my superman,” he explains. “A larger than life character doing things that seem impossible. He proved that hard work, dedication and being fearless works 100% of the time if you apply it to any dream or goal you have. What he did in basketball inspires me creatively.”