After numerous leaks and rumors, KAWS and Jordan finally confirm the release of a collaborative Air Jordan IV and accompanying apparel range.
Perhaps the most momentous Jordan news since the Nike sub-brand’s Supreme collaboration in 2015, legendary graffiti artist Brian “KAWS” Donnelly now serves up his own take on the IV.
“We look for collaboration partners that meet our standard of greatness,” notes Gemo Wong, Senior Design Director for Special Projects at Jordan Brand. “Street art defies the traditional art canvas and can live anywhere. We look at our footwear design through the same lens, as an artistic expression on the streets. With KAWS, we create new connections and push the boundaries of our design thinking.”
Although KAWS has indeed worked with Nike on several projects in the past, this is his first encounter with Jordan Brand, and he remains among very few collaborators that have ever been invited to the Jordan roster. The resulting sneaker is bare of any traditional plastic details, and instead is entirely comprised of premium grey suede, right down to the cage. The pared-down color scheme pays homage to KAWS’ Companion characters, and is finished with a glow-in-the-dark outsole. Naturally, KAWS’ “XX” is featured boldly on the heel in place of Jordan’s classic “Air” marking.
The accompanying apparel range includes a a black satin coach jacket with red Jumpman and KAWS “XX” branding, as well as a black hoodie and T-shirt adorned with KAWS’ trademark hands and a clever “XX AIR” graphic. Finally, a five-panel cap rounds out the apparel component, as an acknowledgement that Donnelly is often seen wearing a simple black cap.
The official Air Jordan homepage also shared an insightful Q&A with KAWS himself. Check out some images and highlights below.
You get approached by countless brands. Why work with Jordan Brand?
KAWS: I’ve always liked the image that Jordan Brand has maintained over the years, and I like that the company started with an individual who excelled at what he did. I also thought this was a good time to work with Nike again. It’s been 10 years since I first designed a shoe for them.
Which design detail did you spend the most time on during the creative process?
I never look at the clock when working on something. I’m often working on several things at once, and I like this process because it takes a lot of pressure off knowing I have to finish something and it lets the creative process happen naturally.
How has your approach to product design changed over the years?
It’s hard to say how or if I’ve changed my approach. I try to make objects that I feel good about and ones that could exist as part of the family of work that I’ve been slowly building over time.
Your collaborations immediately stand out for their unique design details. There’s a lot of iconography in the forefront and mixed into the subtle details that certify your mark. Fans of your work know what to look for, is there any intention to keep them guessing?
I think this time I just made a shoe for myself. I love grey suede. It’s nice when other people like the shoe, but in the end I just have the shoe that I want.
The Jordan x KAWS Capsule launches on March 28 in Greater China and March 31 for the rest of the world, with an approximate price tag of $350 from select retailers and KAWSone.com.
In the meantime, check out these Instagram users (including KAWS of course), who got their hands on early pairs.