Source: JORDAN X KAWS. air.jordan.com
Collabs are not commercial. Whenever I see these joint projects from brands, because I’ve been analyzing the business aspects of the sneaker companies, I now say to myself that collabs aren’t commercial. I then realize that people who say this overlook the influence of a collab with an underground artist that inspires the art world and sneaker culture at the same time.
What I ultimately realize is that influence begins in the underground and then it translates into commercial properties by association. KAWS is a graf artist, but I first came into an understanding via the toys. Having been removed from the street art scene for a while, I have a deep understanding of the culture, but I no longer seek it out as I once did.
This means I get to be educated when the sneaker companies pull from the high profile artists and create kicks. It’s like Mr. Cartoon or Freegums existed long before their sneaker designs, but they are given new life to another generation including old heads like me when they are featured in a collaboration.
While I can no longer pull off the style associated with streetwear, I still love the fashion and art. I will always be the kid who wanted to rock Jordans, but stuck with adidas because I couldn’t afford the shoes when they originally dropped. I will always be the kid spray painting in out apartments because I’d watched Beat Street or Wild Style on a stretched out VHS tape for the 100th time. Even if the gear won’t be released in big numbers and mom and pops may not ever know about the Jordan x KAWS collab, I still realize that Andy Warhol wasn’t commercial, but his influence is undeniable.
I say that to say go and look at this Behind The Scenes on the collab. It’s important and dope.