To celebrate the release of his Air Force 1 sneaker collaboration with Nike, Chicago designer Don C teamed up with American Express on Saturday night (Feb. 16) for an intimate conversation between himself and broadcast sports journalist Cari Champion, who formerly anchored ESPN’s SportsCenter.
The evening, which focused on the anticipated collaboration and its meaning to Don C’s native city, also featured a dining event for Amex’s business customers.
“As a kid growing up in Chicago, I was always inspired by the architecture, sounds and people of my city. Today, I still find myself back at the drawing board pulling my inspiration from my hometown surroundings.” We collaborated with world-renowned designer @chicagodonc on a limited-edition sneaker launching for @NBA All-Star 2020, available online exclusively for Card Members. Terms Apply. Don C shares the inspiration behind the “Amex blue” shoe, being a small business owner, and fostering creativity through his brand. #NBAAllStar
Don C came into the entertainment industry around 2008 as Kanye West‘s then-tour manager and an executive at West’s G.O.O.D Music record label. The Nike partnership is another addition to Don C’s career that stretches his creativity and Chicago roots even further. He’s gained respect for previous work like his Buck Fifty hat line and Mitchell & Ness designs, but this new project holds the most significance.
The Nike Air Force 1 Hi “Just Don” is the latest sneaker collaboration between Nike and Don following the previous work he’s done with the brand (Just Don x Air Jordan 2, Just Don x Jordan Legacy 312). The sneaker is a well-designed model that takes the Air Force 1 and blends it with elements of the Air Force 2 (heel and side panels) and Air Force 3 (enlarged Air Force logo on the tongue).
@justdon Air Force 1 Unboxing –?? ?? @chicagodonc stopped by RSVP Gallery Chicago to unbox the new Air Force 1 Hi “Just Don,” breaking down the implements of the shoe and the processes that went into crafting the sneaker.?? ?? Watch the full video on our YouTube channel or at the link in our bio. ??? ________?? #DonC #Nike #RSVPGallery #JustDon #Chicago??
“I hope when people see the sneaker’s design, color and texture, it ignites a feeling. I want everyone to feel the love a kid from Chicago has for his city,” Don said in a statement.
The design is inspired by the Windy City’s flag with its bright blue colorway and red accents covering the body of the sneaker. On the heel and inner sole, you’ll find Just Don x Nike-inspired branding and inside the tongue, the city’s flag finely stitched with precision.
In the middle of the event, Billboard caught up with Don to speak on the collaboration and NBA All-Star Weekend coming to his city.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy. The Air Force 1’s that dropped sold out and the people and community seem to like them,” Don tells Billboard following his conversation with Champion. “The campaign with American Express went overwhelmingly successful and we’re here partying and celebrating that right now and building community as well. I think my mission was to deliver a product that people liked and people appreciate the message in the actual product and marketing of it and the idea of building community.”
To complement the Air Force 1 Hi, Don also designed NBA star Kevin Durant’s twelfth sneaker to serve as the performance aspect of what Don has been doing all weekend with the Air Force 1 release. “Unfortunately Kevin Durant is injured, but when we planned this out we were going to have him to win the MVP at the All-Star game in my hometown in a pair of shoes that pay homage to this city,” Don says.
. #????? #???? . ????? ????? ???. . ?? : NIKE ZOOM KD12 AS EP ”DON C” . ?? : 179,000 . ?? : CD4979 – 900 . ??? : 240 ~ 300 (295 ???—-??) . . 02 499 3672 010 7705 6453 . . 2? 15? (?) ? ???? ??? ?????. . . #???? 02 499 3672 010 7705 6453 . . #???? ????? ??? ??4? 8-9. ????? ??? ???20? 45. ??? 2/7 ?? ????? 6? ?? 300m ??. ?????? ? ?? ??? ??? ? ???? ????. . . #JORDAN #????? #??? #????? #JUMPMAN23 #?? #?????? #??????? #BASKETBALL #AIRJORDAN #NIKEBASKETBALL #NIKE #KD12 #DURANT #BROOKLYNNETS #DONC #ALLSTAR
For the KD 12, Don felt the sneaker paid more tribute to the city than the more popular Air Force 1 iteration, which he intended to do. “An aspect of the KD 12’s I want to point out is the nod to the Jordan elephant print on the heel of the sneaker,” Don continues.
“Jordan Brand wouldn’t allow us to use the actual elephant print — and understandably so because that’s Jordan’s property. But we made a print that was referenced by the elephant print using Nike DNA like words like zoom, force and flight.”
For Don and the residents of Chicago, this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend provided a chance to showcase the city in a positive light. “We only seen [NBA All-Star Weekend] one time before in 1988. We don’t even know what this is like, we just like how it feels and we just want it to happen more and more,” said Don.
“It’s just an absolute pick-me-up for the city. I’m so happy that the third-largest city in America and, to me, the mecca and the center of the world is being uplifted this weekend,” he continues. “We’re not talking about the negativity or the violence or whatever it is you’ve heard about the city. We’re not being depressed with that. We’re talking about basketball, building community and businesses, building relationships and just kicking it.”
Head over to Nike.com for the KD 12’s, which are currently still in stock. The Air Force 1 Hi “Just Don,” which were sold exclusively to American Express cardholders at retail price, are currently listed on StockX at a mark-up for $590.