Recently, Jordan Brand dropped one of the most exclusive pairs of Wings 5s in company history. The teal glow-in-the-dark shoes feature wing-patterned side panels and winged lace toggle.
But, they also embody the imagination of 19 students from Chicago’s Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy.
According to The Undefeated, the shoes dropped in late-September for $200 a pair and sold out within minutes on Nike’s SNKRS App.
The shoes were made possible through the Jordan Brand Wings Scholars Program, a community outreach initiative inspired by Michael Jordan’s ongoing commitment to education that also provides deserving students with full academic scholarships.
Since 2015, Jordan has helped provide college funding for more than 225 students. The brand has also released a custom design sneaker in commemoration of these awards.
Through the newly introduced Wings Design Program (an extension of Wings Scholars), Little Black Pearl students became the first to help contribute to the creative process.
A select group was invited to participate in the Jordan Designers program, which includes coursework in apparel and footwear design and marketing. The 10-week platform not only helped the group develop their concepts, it inspired career paths for several rising seniors.
During the program, students were split up and asked personal questions about Chicago and its significance to their lives. The result was a series of illustrations that the students would have to pitch to brand employees through a series of workshops, presentations and competitions. From there, professional designers helped curate a final set of designs and bring those concepts to life.
Photo credit: Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy
No two pairs are exactly the same. Each shoe is covered in multicolored, yet complementary, illustrations that look more like leather works of art than functional streetwear. At least, so says David Creech, Jordan Brand’s vice president of design.
“There’s a story painted… through the lens of the city of Chicago, the community and Little Black Pearl’s students…” Creech said.
The shoes were unveiled to participating students by Jordan ambassador and Chicago Bulls forward Jabari Parker.
You may still be able to find a pair on the GOAT app, where they’re reselling for as much as $450. But, of course, the shoes’ impact goes well beyond that resale value.