How the Jordan Women’s Line changed the AJI

"For so many sneakerheads, their journey begins with the Air Jordan I. It's really inspiring to hear how much a shoe can do for so many people," says Andrea Perez, GM and VP of Jordan Brand Women's and Kids.

Earlier this year, before the Jordan Women line was officially launched, Perez traveled around the world to gain insights. She found that the Air Jordan I stands out for women with a passion for kicks and basketball culture. It was linked to stories and memories, of sentimental and nostalgic value, and played an important role in defining her general love for sneakers.

"That's all the motivation we need to make the community proud of carrying old and new Air Jordans," says Perez.

She feels personally connected to the Jordan I. As an athlete, the iconic silhouette was always a size for her.

"Only wearing an AJI or the Jumpman logo can give someone confidence," explains Perez from personal experience. "That's why it means so much to me."

As a source of trust and a symbol of excellence, it made sense that the Air Jordan I would serve as a building block for the recently introduced Damenlinie. Not to mention the sneaker that started it all in 1984, when Michael Jordan hit the hardwood in the upper floors.

Perez and her team have ensured that the classic AJI models are now available to a wider audience and offer the original designs up to a ladies size of 5.5. However, they also considered it important to rethink their appearance and develop different tastes that complement the existing AJI narrative.

"We are confident that there is a way to balance a silhouette and still drive it forward," says Perez. "Innovation is at the heart of our brand and we will continue to drive their designs."

In the women's line, there is a clear focus on appreciating what has made Jordan Brand prosper, and expanding and enriching that heritage. It is a combination of preserving and forming new traditions, especially for women.

"Of course, we now have an incredible opportunity to size the AJI," said David Creech, vice president of design at Jordan Brand, in June. "So they're going to be overhauled by this redesign idea, so for us, that means we're going to commit a two-gender crime and expand the arsenal, if you like, to that next level, we have a great design team strictly focused on women, really, they took the icon itself and (said) OK, hey, what could we re-imagine for them to bring the outside world into our world?"

The line has reshuffled the "Shattered Backboard" Air Jordan I, an existing black and orange color premium leather, with a satin veneer. You have reworked the Jordan I "Rebel XX", distorted the appearance and changed the placement of the Wings logo. Both new inventions were extremely popular.

"We want to take design risks that reflect both the DNA of the AJI and the fearless attitude of the Jordan Women's community," says Perez.

On the way, they have received support from several renowned employees. Designer and influencer Aleali May She worked with the brand last year to develop her own AJI colorway and became the first woman to develop a sneaker for both sexes with Jordan. The mix of silver and black (an allusion to May's favorite NHL team, her hometown Los Angeles Kings) quickly sold out. Since then, May has continued to work on the line and helped deliver the AJI Zip – a redesigned model made from a fresh metal zipper.

In a debut collaboration between Jordan and Vogue magazine, The Zip got another twist. The AWOK shoe, which stands for "Anna Wintour OK," the seal of approval handed out to the magazine's authors by the editor-in-chief, was made in the colors of University Red and Sail and made exclusively for women. It features a Nike Air tag "Edited by Vogue" and the AWOK signature on the outsole and tongue.

Jasmine JordanMJ's daughter was instrumental in developing the product line, using her deep understanding of the business and her unique perspective as a consultant. Singer Billie Eilish was also made to be a voice. At just 16, the Is is one of the most popular kicks of all time for Eilish.

"You can carry Jordan Is with everything," she said, via a press release. "It's not just that it's all started with the Is, it's still going on, they never stop, I think they're the most popular shoe ever."

Eilish is right. Since its introduction more than 30 years ago, the popularity of the AJI has not diminished. It still works. It never stops.

And now it is even more emphasized as the centerpiece of the revolutionary Jordan Brand Women line.

"We knew that the AJI would always be at the heart of these efforts to bring the best of the brand to them," says Perez.


Alex Squadron is Associate Editor at SLAM. Follow him on Twitter @ asquad510,

Photos about Nike and Getty.

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