2 cents: The “Just Don” is the greatest sneaker collaboration of all time
Don Crawley grew up on the South Side of Chicago witnessing Michael Jordan’s greatness first hand. Watching those dominant Bull’s teams of the 90s, a seed was planted in the mind of you Don as it was with so many others who grew up in that time… an insatiable hunger to be great. He, like many others were, was inspired to be special in his own right.
Crawley became an icon in the streetwear industry. Having reimagined the american staple that is a baseball cap, Don C’s brand, Just Don, carved out a foot hold in the industry. Specializing in headwear and other sports paraphernalia, Don made the everything he touched glow.
By 2015 Jordan Brand was looking for a fresh collaboration partner. They chose Don. Using his knowledge of fashion, fervent dedication to craftsmanship, and childhood memories of Jordan himself, Crowley set out to design the shoe that may define his legacy. He selected a generally disregarded silhouette in the Jordan signature line, the Jordan Two, as his canvas.
The Two is the forgotten installment between the Jordan One and Jordan Three. Dueling for popularity surrounded by legendary models, the Two and it’s boring, drab construction fell away into the shroud of MJ’s legend. No one wore the Two, no one coveted the Two, and really no one wanted the Two. Maybe that is why Don C chose the model in the first place. Maybe Don saw a chance to make something his.
After a creative process that was largely kept under wraps, the Chicago born-and-raised designer came out with an absolutely gorgeous work of art. A shoe so glorious that it hardly resembled the tired Jordan Two that it was emulating. With no constructional change to the silhouette, Don had created a timeless masterpiece by just splashing on color and changing materials around.
Utilizing premium nubuck suede, top-of-the-line quilted leather, and a vibrant blue color, Don personalized an unrelatable shoe and gave the Two an abundance of character. He had created the “Just Don Two”, a shoe that massively resonated in the sneaker community.
The reason that this particular collaboration sticks out as the best ever is simple. The amount of individuality, passion, and craftsmanship that went into making the product was able to transcend the previous constrictions of the Jordan Two and make it into something that people actually wanted. Don was even able recreate the magic last year as he introduced a “beach” variation, and will undoubtedly do so again this year with the “arctic orange” colorway set to release sometime in the spring.
Silhouette: Air Zoom Generation
Name: 5 Decades Of Basketball Pack (A.K.A. “Wheats”)
In a series in which Nike revisits the defining shoes of five generations of basketball, It was only right that the shoe that eighteen year old baby Bron took his first NBA steps in. The Zoom Generation is simply iconic.
The silhouette calls back to a simpler time in which a man one year removed from attending St. Vincet St. Marry’s high school in Akron, Ohio set the sports world on fire.14 years later and two things are certain. Lebron James is still an incredible basketball player, and the Zoom Generation is still an emblem of 2000’s basketball shoes.
This, being the second ever Lebron retro (the first being the “first game” Zoom Generation auctioned in extremely limited quantity earlier this year), shows how far “The King” has come. His resonance in basketball will leave an everlasting indention on sneaker culture and now that Nike is retroing his sneaker it’s no longer a thought, but a fact.
This wheat edition is a nice first step into the infinite pool of options for future Lebron retros. With a vanchetta tan upper that harkens to the classic Timbs boot, this shoe is a born classic. You can dress it up, dress it down, or hoop in them if you want.
Silhouette: Yeezy V2
2017 must be a big year for Kanye and Adidas. They cemented themselves in the sneaker space in 2016, but in order to really make a scare for the Swoosh, they have to remain relevant this year.
Adidas starts that mission off well with another installment of their famed Yeezy. An all-black, back-tabbed, V2 with red script blazing across the upper drops this weekend. The hype has been unreal for everything Kanye in the recent past, and this release will be no different. They will undoubtedly sell out in an instant.
The V2 has continued the success of its predecessors and continues to be the flagship silhouette for Adidas. Boasting a lightweight construction and superior comfort to many other models, the Yeezy continues to garner the enduring support of serious collectors and casual customers alike.
Silhouette: Jordan Five
Name: “Take Flight”
Continuing the vibe of the “Take Flight” Eight, the “Take Flight” Five also plays off of world war two flight jackets. Being that the Jordan Five already takes heavy influence from the P-51 Mustang, a World War Two fighter plane, the flight jacket inspiration fills an even more pronounced role in this release.
The highest quality leathers are used to the smother the upper in luxury as olive and tan tones balance each other well. Leather also coats the midsole, which is a switch up from Jordan Fives of the past.
The distinct feature of this shoe is the absence of the mesh plate on medial and lateral fore foot. In the past, one of the outstanding details of the Jordan Five was this mesh plate, but on the “Take Flight” pair the mesh has been removed in favor of a simple patch of perforation that provides a more extravagant feel.
Silhouette: Air Force 1 Low
The brain child of rap artist A$AP Bari, fashion brand Vlone has been booming for a minute now. Brandishing bright orange and large logoing on most of their pieces, the group has been able gain substantial traction opening pop-ups in Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, and most recently New York.
If they hadn’t already solidified their status amongst the streetwear big dogs, Vlone has now as they have finished a collaboration with Nike. Choosing the Air Force 1, Vlone does not skimp on the staples that have seen them rise in recent memory.
With orange stitching and a bright orang swoosh, the all-black shoe undoubtedly pops. A leather that appears to be somewhat similar to a stingray consistency seems to be the main composition. Details such as the phrase “Every Living Creative Dies Alone” and the brand name are stitched on the heals of each shoe to further demonstrate the craftsmanship gone in to each pair.
Wear Of The Week: Jordan 11 “Space Jam” (2016)