The Jordan brand believes there’s an untapped market of women who respect the company’s legacy but want more options made just for them.
“Women have a deep passion for the brand,” said Andrea Perez, vice president and general manager of women’s at Jordan. “They are really interested in sneakers now and the spring collection is the first step of a long-term commitment to this customer.”
The brand expounded on that commitment during a panel that took place at Spring Street Studios in New York on Thursday afternoon, which included Perez along with Linda Mai-Lotti, concept design director at Jordan; Jeni McDonald, product line manager of women’s footwear; Maya Moore, a WNBA player and brand partner, and Aleali May, a model and fashion consultant.
The company, which, according to the NPD Group, dropped from second to third place as the most popular sneaker — Nike nabbed the number-one spot and Adidas climbed to second place surpassing Jordan for the first time — has spent the past couple of years speaking to women to get a better understanding of what they want out of their sneakers.
“We were really inspired by true insights coming from her,” said Perez, who added that women are looking for premium fabrics, special details and comfort.
From these findings the designers created the spring collection, which includes 10 different colorways of the Jordan 1 silhouette made from satin and suede fabrications with a raised Nike check. They retail for $160 and will be released on Jan. 25. A laceless, zip-up version of the Jordan 1s with a sock liner retails for $150 and will be released on March 8, and the Jordan 12s Vachetta Tan, which are made from a tan suede and accented with gold hardware, will retail for $190 and will be released on March 23.
“We think about the consumer as a spectrum,” Perez said. “You have someone like Maya Moore, a basketball champ, and when we do footwear for her on court, we have to design to certain specifications. Then you have women who are more street inspired and they want our classics. And some are more fashion driven and they want more trends.”
According to Perez, they will be releasing the sneaker at specialty boutiques including Kith and CNCPTS, and also working with Pinterest on social commerce. There is also a dedicated women’s page on Jordan’s e-commerce site.
For the past couple of years, streetwear and athletic brands have homed in on women. Nike has targeted this ecosystem by partnering with the International Girl Crew, a group of creative, sneaker-wearing friends with strong Instagram followings and impressive careers including Paloma Elsesser, Grace Ladoja, Phoebe Lovatt, Sharmadean Reid, Camille Garmendia and Madeline Poole. Before Jordan worked with May on a Jordan 6 in Millennial pink, which was only for friends and family, and a Jordan 1 in silver and black, the brand worked with Vashtie Kola on a lavender version of the Jordan 2 in 2010. Perez said now the Jordan brand is more committed to long-term initiatives in the women’s space. There will be more releases throughout the year and the look book images styled by May hint at an apparel push down the line.