#LifeAtComplex: Jordan Brand and Gatorade Surprise Complex

On today’s episode Jordan Brand and Gatorade teamed up to surprise Complex staffers. Let’s just say everyone’s energy was refueled with all the blessings!

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LifeAtComplex: The Official Air Jordan 6 Gatorade Collab

On today’s episode Tony and Beija receive a exclusive package from Jordan Brand. Inside the package features the Air Jordan 6 Gatorade, as well as the Air Jordan 32 Gatorade and loads of apparel. Later on Angel Diaz weighs in on the state of his New York Knicks.

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Watch Us Unbox the Air Jordan 11 ‘Win Like ’82’

The latest Sole Collector unboxing takes a look at Jordan Brand's  new UNC-themed retro, the Air Jordan 11 “Win Like '82.”

This year's Holiday season release of the Air Jordan 11 takes it back to MJ's college days, more specifically, to the year he won an NCAA National Championship with the North Carolina Tar Heels. The brand new colorway features a white mesh upper, a navy blue patent leather mudguard, and Carolina Blue Jumpman logos. Look for this pair to release Saturday, Nov. 11 for $220 on nike.com and at other Jordan Brand retailers.

For a full breakdown of the shoe check out the video above, and also make sure to subscribe to the Sole Collector YouTube channel today to stay up to date with all of our latest videos.

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#LifeAtComplex: A Look at the Air Jordan 4 Kaws Friends & Family!

#LifeAtComplex is a daily vlog that offers an inside look at Complex. Watch as Tony Mui takes viewers behind-the-scenes in the office—you never know who or what will pop up.

On today's episode Tony gives you a cinematic look into Air Jordan 4 Kaws Friends & Family sneaker that was sent to Joe La Puma by Jordan Brand. Later on Tony, Maggie, and Al sit down and talk about the Thursday night NFL matchup. This sparks up an interesting conversation, which state has the best pizza? Let us know your thoughts!

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#LifeAtComplex: A Look At The Air Jordan 4 KAWS Friends & Family

On today’s episode Tony gives you a cinematic look into Air Jordan 4 Kaws Friends & Family sneaker that was sent to Joe La Puma by Jordan Brand. Later on Tony, Maggie, and Al sit down and talk about the Thursday night NFL matchup. This sparks up an interesting conversation, which state has the best pizza? Let us know your thoughts!

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DJ Khaled and Asahd Khaled Show Off Their Sneaker Collections on Complex Closets

DJ Khaled is back to break the Internet once again with Joe La Puma for Complex Closets, and this time he brought his son Asahd along to show their now-shared sneaker collection and to celebrate his first birthday.

During the episode, Khaled gives another look at his sneaker closet, which now includes sneakers for his son, Asahd, who already owns exclusive Air Jordans. He gives an in-depth look at his own “Grateful” Air Jordan IIIs that Jordan Brand gave him to celebrate his album going platinum, and he explains that the first four pairs have a misspelling on them and are worth more money. Khaled also shows unreleased Air Jordans, such as the Air Jordan IIIs for Russell Westbrook, Drake’s University of Kentucky pack, the friends-and-family version of the Kaws x Air Jordan IV, the Air Jordan Vs for Mark Wahlberg, the “Denim” Air Jordan IIIs, and tells a touching story of how he received the Air Jordan 1s for Craig Sager. He also talks about Jay Z signing a pair of the Reebok S. Carters for him, responds to Lil Yachty wanting to battle his closet, and hints that Asahd might have his own Air Jordan sneaker on the way, all while giving more keys to life.

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Meet the Designer of the Air Monarch, Nike’s Biggest Dad Shoe

The dad shoe trend is here in full force, whether you like it or not. When it comes to these chunky, mall-walking sneakers, there's one shoe that reigns supreme: The Nike Air Monarch. It's Nike's best-selling sneaker and has become an ironic favorite of sneakerheads in the past few years. In recent times, Russell Westbrook has been seen wearing the sneaker courtside, Eric Koston has skated in them, and Concepts has even teased a supposed collaboration on the shoe. It's safe to say, for the time being, that the Monarch is here to stay with the cool kids. On the most recent episode of Sole Collector's Full Size Run, co-hosts Rich “MaZe” Lopez, Brendan Dunne, and yours truly got a chance to speak to Jason Mayden, former Nike and Jordan Brand designer who worked on the Nike Air Monarch II.

In the episode, Mayden breaks down his inspiration behind the shoe, which included thinking of dads hanging out in a wood-paneled room, watching football, and drinking Budweiser — after mowing the lawn.

He also talks about what it was like to design sneakers for Michael Jordan and how the Jordan Fusions came about.

Watch the episode above.

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Public School on Working on the Air Jordan XV: “It’s a Love It or Hate It Shoe”

Public School is the definitive product of two New York City natives and their go-getter spirits. In less than 10 years since its 2008 inception, founders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne —who met while working at Sean John— catapulted their own menswear brand to immense popularity with a high-fashion-meets-streetwear approach to design, racking up multiple awards in the process.

While the style and wearability of the apparel made a name for itself, Public School truly claimed its stake as leaders in the fashion industry when it teamed up with Jordan Brand. After working on exclusive friends-and-family versions of the Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan X, and Carmelo Anthony's M10, the NYC-based brand expanded its horizon and launched the PSNY x Air Jordan XII to the public — a dark-grey luxe rendition that resonated with the purest of sneakerheads and menswear enthusiasts alike. The collab was the precursor to three more Air Jordan XIIs that embodied the brand’s hometown of New York City, as well as Paris and Milan.

After a small world tour with the XIIs, the Public School duo is back home for New York Fashion Week to debut their Spring/Summer 2018 collection and a brand new capsule in collaboration with Jordan Brand. Using the black sheep of the Air Jordan lineage, the XV, Public School re-imagined Tinker Hatfield’s original design in ways never seen before. The collection includes Air Jordan XVs for men in black suede, an olive woven material, and for the first time ever, an Air Jordan XV boot for women.

PSNY x Air Jordan XV
Image via Nike

The successful runway show located in the heart of Chinatown was followed up with a nearby pop-up shop, where the footwear and apparel was available for purchase. There, Complex caught up with the PSNY founders, joined fellow Sean John alumnus and current Senior Director of Energy Projects at Jordan Brand Gemo Wong, to talk about the latest drop.

Check out out the latest episode of #LifeAtComplex for a closer look at the star-studded event, inside the pop-up shop, and interview.

How did Public School’s relationship with Jordan Brand first come about?
Gemo Wong: So I’ve known Dao-Yi for a while, we used to work together. As his brand Public School kind of progressed, it felt like the timing was right to do something especially in the apparel space. The partnership started with apparel first and then we kind of explored footwear

After doing your first footwear collaboration, did you know it would become an ongoing partnership?
GW: We just kind of did what we felt was right. It’s all about time, who we [Jordan] are as a brand and who they are as a brand.

What was the motivation behind using the Air Jordan XV for this collab?
Dao-Yi Chao: It’s starts with a conversation. The great thing about working with Gemo and his team is that, there isn’t a set schedule, there isn’t a set plan. We only work when we feel it’s right. When we a great idea, we take it to him and if he likes the idea, he’ll set things into motion. With the XVs specifically, Gemo’s always challenged us to work on shoes that sort of lie outside of the 1s, IIIs, IVs, Vs, VIs, XIs — the really popular ones that iterated a l lot and so we enjoy that challenge. Coming off working on the XII, changing that iconic shoe into something that was definitively Public School, was something that we wanted to carry over on the XVs. It’s a love it or hate it shoe.

Yeah, even Tinker Hatfield, who designed it, has said that it’s his least favorite Air Jordan.
DC: Did he say that?

GW: He’s said that on paper, yeah.

He’s said that on record. Were there any challenges you faced while designing these Air Jordan XVs?
Maxwell Osborne: Not really. Maybe on the women’s side, trying to make the boot.

DC: That was another idea that was born just out of conversation. Like, “Yo, we wanna do it during Fashion Week during the show, but it’s a women’s show. It would be crazy if we turned the XV into a boot!”

It already is kind of chunky like a boot.
DC: Exactly. We wanted to accentuate the obvious things about the shoes. The fold back on the tongue I guess is what you would call it — all of those things we wanted to really build on top of, but make it feel like our own shoe. That’s the point of any good collaboration. You gotta add something to it. It’s already great in its own realm, but how do you add to it and make it something better?

PSNY x Air Jordan 15 Knee-High Boot
the Public School x Air Jordan XV boot for women. Images via Antonio de Moraes Barros for Getty Images

The tongue of the sneakers feature a “WNL” logo. What does the “We Need Leaders” motto specifically mean to Public School as a brand?
MO: “We Need Leaders” for us, was really a call to action. It was for everybody to step up. Us, our team, everybody around the world, just to step up and be better. It also mean when no one’s looking. So, are you the same type of person when the lights turn off and you go home? Are you the same type of person you show face to when you step out of that? WNL mean a lot to us in terms of special leadership and people stepping up to the plate.

When you first released the first grey PSNY XIIs did you expect such a big reaction?
DC: I don’t know, I didn’t know what to expect.

GW: You always have your fingers crossed. You always go in wishing the best. We took a different approach to it, so we were hoping for a good response, especially in [Public School’s] space, the fashion space, it was good overall.

Did the response play a part in following up with the city series or was it already in the works?
GW: Again it all comes down to what we felt was right timing wise, what these guys are into, and making sure the brands are in tune, so as a evolution as the grey we felt like doing the City pack was a good addition.

DC: We say that thing and always felt it was almost boot-like, the way we molded it out, so we just sampled it in a wheat colorway because it felt like a boot. So from there, again, just from the conversation, they put it into work. We it came back we were like, “What if we flip three colors — the Wheat is so New York— what if we created a colorway for Paris and a colorway for Milan?” That’s how it goes, then we try it out. If it don’t feel right then we keep it moving, but if we’re onto something, I think it all clicks with us and we push it forward.

When that release happened launching the collection over multiple cities, it really changed the way retail works. Do you guys plan to do that again, say with this release?
GW: It all depends on the project, the time, how we feel when we all get together.

PSNY x Air Jordan 15 Olive Suede
A sample version of the Public School x Air Jordan XV collaboration, worn by Jordan Brand designer Frank Cooke. Image via Frank Cooker

Gemo, can you explain your role as head of Energy Projects at Jordan Brand?
GW: I’m Senior Director of Energy Projects. That’s everything from what you see here — footwear, apparel, to anything limited and sought after within the brand.

How do you decide on which people to work with like KAWS, Drake, or Travis Scott?
GW: It just all depends on where the brand is at. I don’t want to feel like we have to do collabs. I feel like we should let collabs enhance the brand, rather than we need them for the brand. It takes the pressure off. There is no, “Oh man, I gotta do a collab this month, next month.” As with this project, it’s just timing, where we are as a brand and if it feels right, then we do it.

Why is it important for Jordan Brand to focus on fashion and lifestyle versus just sports?
GW: We concentrate a lot on sports as well. It just so happens that we do some fashion stuff. You look at our portfolio, we still do a lot in the basketball space with athletes like Russ and all their signature shoes, but we also do stuff in the fashion space. Our brand means a lot to everyone, which could be a gift and a curse. As result, we just try to balance it out.

What was it like working with Diddy back during your time at Sean John?
MO: All three of us met at Sean John actually. How did it feel? It felt great! [Laughs] You got Puff’s son behind you.

DC: That brand, that moment in time sort of represented this idea of aspiration. Everything about Puff, even outside of fashion was you should aspire for something better. I think that really stuck with us. That idea of aspiration, doing something unexpected, but always presenting this idea of aspiration to do something better or to make something better. We all went different routes, but that definitely stuck with us.

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Kobe Bryant’s Air Jordan III PEs Sell for More Than $30,000

Kobe Bryant’s highly coveted Air Jordan III PEs recently raked in a hefty sum on eBay.

As pointed out by Nice Kicks, the sneakers were auctioned off earlier this week to an unidentified buyer for $30,400. The exclusives were gifted to Kobe during the 2002-2003 NBA season, when he was playing as a sneaker free agent. At the time, many people believed he was on his way to sign with Jordan Brand, but because he ultimately inked a deal with Nike, Kobe’s Air Jordan III PEs never received a wide release. Though they were expected to appear in a limited Air Jordan pack along with the PE VIIIs, fans are still holding their breath for that drop. 

The sample “Home White” pair came in Kobe’s size 14 and included the production date of 11/26/2002 on the tongue tag. According to the listing, the sneakers had never been worn, but had typical signs of aging. You can check out the IIIs in the images above and below. 

The 'Kobe' Air Jordan 3
Image via eBay

 

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ASAP Rocky’s Biggest Challenge: Making Under Armour Cool

ASAP Rocky has convinced the world that New York artists could sound like they’re from Houston, shown that rappers could dress like they stepped off a Paris runway, designed sneakers with Adidas and Jeremy Scott, and modeled for Dior.​ But now he's signed himself up for one of the biggest tasks of his career: making Under Armour relevant in the world that he's dominated for much of this decade.

By most mainstream measures, Under Armour already is “cool.” They've snatched up big names in sports like Steph Curry, Tom Brady, Jordan Spieth, Cam Newton, and Aaron Judge, and the brand’s on-field success has been nothing short of impeccable. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been quite enough to give the brand cultural impact that transcends beyond professional sports.

The brand is clearly hoping to change that. It was reported on July 8 that Rocky had signed a multi-year deal with the Maryland sportswear company to work on lifestyle product for its UAS range, which is directed by fashion designer Tim Coppens and focuses apparel and sneakers that don’t feature the Under Armour logo — something that's driven style-oriented people away from the brand in the past.

It’s been the butt of many Internet jokes in recent times, most notably its all-white Steph Curry sneakers, and its move to bring Rocky onboard is a clear sign that it’s trying to chase a different consumer; one that’s eschewed its shoes for Nike and Adidas. It’s already worn by suburban dads and young teens who actually play basketball, but convincing everyone else to buy into the sneakers is a different story.

The Rock Under Armour
Under Armour has previously used entertainers such as The Rock to try and grow its company. Image via The Rock on Instagram

It was once controversial to claim that artists and musicians are the new athletes in the footwear industry, but Kanye West and Adidas (followed by a whole host of other entertainers and companies) have proved that notion wrong. Yeezys are flying off shelves at a breakneck pace while LeBrons are collecting dust and going on sale. And Under Armour’s move of signing Rocky proves that even the most sports-focused company realizes that it needs to get younger and hipper to grab its stake in the shoe game. The company has already signed The Rock to a big deal, but it didn’t make an impact with the cool-guy demographic, an audience that it so desperately wants to resonate with. It won’t, however, be as seamless as attaching one of the biggest names in hip-hop to a sneaker brand and watching the money roll in. Rocky is going to have to work his ass off to make this partnership truly work.

If anyone thinks Rocky’s contribution, in terms of influence, is insignificant, consider this for a second: With 6.3 million instagram followers, he has nearly twice as many as Under Armour’s main account.

Let’s think of the possibilities for a second. If Rocky is able to create product that truly inspires his fan base, there’s no way that it’s not going to sell out, and it will only create a snowball effect for Under Armour. Don’t believe me? You’d be hard-pressed to find a high percentage of the Yeezy/Boost fanboys who owned a pair of sneakers with Three Stripes on them prior to Kanye and Adidas working together in 2015, but now the brand has, literally, boosted its sales and has overtaken Nike and Jordan Brand in terms of resonance with the millennial audience. 

It’s not going to be easy, though. This isn’t Under Armour’s first foray into lifestyle product. It’s made luxury, off-court sneakers for Steph Curry and even launched them at leading boutique Concepts. The brand made a huge push behind its Tim Coppens line, too, and it’s just fallen flat. It even has Migos promoting the label, but they haven’t consistently worn the product in the public eye and it’s failed to make a huge impact. Rocky could change all of that. His connection as a designer/signature artist is much greater than paying him to simply wear Under Armour. People have spouted on social media that they’re already going to buy their first pair of Under Armours, but all of that will be proven when his shoes finally are available at retail.

What makes Rocky’s partnership with the brand intriguing is that he’s notorious for being someone who won’t wear or co-sign anything that he’s not truly into. It’s likely that he sees this opportunity as a chance to boost his profile as someone who’s taken seriously as a designer in the style world, and who doesn’t want their name attached to a commercially successful sneaker? Imagine if Under Armour lets him design a sneaker for Steph Curry to wear during the All-Star Game? That’s visibility that even his music, likely, won’t achieve. But these are all what-ifs. It all starts with making a good pair of shoes, and the rest will follow.

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