For kicks: Celebrating Dave White x Air Jordan
After the airing of Netflix documentary The Last Dance, products associated with NBA champion Michael Jordan are having a serious moment, with sales reaching new heights. An autographed pair of Air Jordan 1s even set the new world auction record for a pair of sneakers, selling for $560,000 in an online auction at Sotheby’s on 17 May – the 35th anniversary of the Air Jordan.
What better time then to revisit pioneer of the Sneaker Art movement, British artist Dave White's own 2012 Jordan Brand release.
Currently in demand on sneaker reselling platforms like StockX, the Dave White x Air Jordan 1 ‘Wings for the Future’ collaboration saw White team up with Jordan Brand designer Dave Frank to create two releases – a global release and 23 limited-edition Gold pairs.
What a load of Bulls
With free rein to put his stamp on the high-top Jordan 1 silhouette, White chose to commemorate Michael Jordan’s time at the Chicago Bulls. After watching The Last Dance, it’s not difficult to see why. Despite being a purist and a Jordan fan himself, it was important to White that he didn’t create ‘just another’ colourway.
The six-time NBA champions are celebrated in white, red and black base colours and a number of premium details, including Jordan’s signature elephant print (used on a One for the first time) and a rubberised trademark black paint splatter, which is made using 3M, so it explodes with energy when the light hits the side of the shoe. There’s also brush detailing and artist-grade canvas on the tongue, which is the material White paints on, in a nod to his own work. Jumpman logos can also be found on the tongue and embroidered on the heel panel of the left shoe alongside the number ‘23’ on the right.
It’s what is missing from these sneakers that really makes them stand out though. In a first, White was allowed to remove the iconic Nike Swoosh logo on the side, replacing it with the paint splatter to create movement. Something that had never been done before their release in February 2012.
A winning collaboration
With the AJI ‘All-Star’ Gold release, White wanted to create something a champion would turn up in, ‘something that looked like you’d already won’. Think Jordan and Pippen, cigars in hand.
With just 23 pairs in existence, auctioned off on sneaker site Sole Collector for the Jordan Brand’s Wings for the Future charity in February 2011, these gold-tipped US flag-inspired sneakers are a sought-after item.
“Creating something that was worthy of their status and making something unique that referenced my work, hadn’t been seen before and had a story, was the challenge,” said White.
The result is a patriotic mix of colours and stars and stripe motifs combined with White’s trademark brushstrokes and paint splatters.