Virgil Abloh was in Paris last week, an opportunity for us to try to understand its creative process behind its Jordan 1. Michael Jordan, his childhood in Illinois .. Rhe designer has revealed some of its secrets at Jordan Bastille.
Last year we saw an incredible hype around your first collaboration with Jordan and I think that many of us here would agree to say that the Jordan 1 Off-White was the best shoe of 2017. So, we’ve seen kids queuing for days trying to get this pair, how does it feel to see your work acclaimed like that ?
Its unreal … I don’t know man, thats a good question. Im the kind of person who wish that every person can get a pair. But, you know as a designer who challenge himself to make products that people like and buy, it feels good that when it drop in the real world people want to participate in it. The worst thing as a designer is to have an idea that is unnoticed.
You grew up in Chicago with Michael Jordan as a role model. What is it like to be an inspiration for kids and being seen somehow as a new hero today and how Michael Jordan Fearless mentality influenced your work ?
Thats more of a point to me, as a designer to carry on a sort of thing that I get from my mentors, in a large way .. Michael Jordan was my Superman. He’s a larger than life character, he was doing things that seems to be impossible, and the main thing to remember is that Michael was a local basketball player. This was happening down the street to my house. going to this game and see him play wearing this shoes localy … something for us, back then in 85, we weren’t traveling to see that he was a global figure. So now honestly, its 2018, we’re talking about a Jordan 1 .. A piece of design and history.
To complete what i said, imagine being a 9yo or a teenager, and see he can win, see what he was doing in a game. I think that he prouve that hard work, dedication and being fearless works 100% of time if you apply it to any dream or goal that you have. So what he did in basketball motivated me to do and think what I can do in matter of creativity.
We know that you have a particular attachment to Europe, is the release of this new Jordan limited to Europe a choice from you to thank your European fans ?
It’s a interesting thing. Now we’re a global community, for a number of reason. I embrace it. I remember being an american going to london, Oxford Street for the first time, when I was into Dunks, and i appreciated the fact that I had to travel to get a different color. I like global product and I like local, so it just make things special you know. That this pair release for locals.
With the success of the Jordan 1 Off-White Chicago, one would have expected to see a “Bred” or “Royal” version coming out just after. Why did you opt for a sober white colorway?
The white version that release was actually the first sample, the very first version that I did before the Chicago. The shoe was supposed to come out white, then I change it at the last minute, because I though, that if the world sees a white version first they wouldn’t being tight to the heritage of the Jordan 1. So I tough it was better to come out second and then now , you can understand the design that have already been seen and appreciate the white version.
The shoe is now available in women’s size, I guess that you had a lot of women’s message asking for their size for the first release ?
Yea, I think it’s a great thing that everybody can be able to get the shoe. It’s available for more people and especially women size that is generally smaller. It’s good to have my project spam in different sizing range.
Can you explain to us what was your creative process leading to the idea of deconstruction ?
It was just a design exercise, to give more to the product, you know. Nike in general, sports shoes, you have to ask yourself “what would make your collaboration unique”. I was trying to find some new way to make a shoe distinct, not only the color but also the actual construction.
This AJ1 is such a success, Is there other Jordan silhouettes you would like to work on in the future ?
I’m open to it, I doesn’t though about it but .. Yes .. You know, the Jordan Brand, is so important for the sneaker culture.
What about the 6 ? The 4 ?
Who knows … (laughs)
We sat down with Virgil Abloh to talk about its new Jordan 1,