MEET THE NYC COLLECTIVE
Sneaker culture is no longer limited to the perspective of men.
Jordan Brand has welcomed a Global Collective of women who are set to reimagine the Jumpman logo. The cohorts from major cities – Los Angeles, New York and Chicago will meet to discuss the cultural and societal impact of the brand.
Marisa Bryant: Creative
Yaya: Founder of In Her Soles Collective
Kwynn Butts: Co-founder of the Move Co.
Jourdan Ash: Digital Creator
Chelsea Baez: Sports Mentor
Annette Cruz: Creative
Shema Love: Visual Artist
The New York Cohort held a weekend retreat late last month to delve into how to impact their local community, while revisiting how the Jordan Brand has impacted their lives over the years.
"I've known about Jordan my whole life," said cohort member Yaya. "I was born in '91 and was raised between (Dominican Republic) and the Bronx. And in both places, Jordan was everything, as basketball culture is ingrained in everyday life. My first priority when I got a real job at 15 was to get a pair of Jordans."
Yaya said the knack for styling in "drip" was essential to being a part of any crew growing up. "Jordan Brand has always been the most highly coveted product across the footwear spectrum my entire life," she said.
"I think going into the retreat, I knew we all thought similarly about community and impact, but I didn't understand why I was chosen to be a part of the collective," said cohort member Chelsea Baez. "I think now, after being around the ladies and the Brand, the answer is clear to me now. I questioned for a long time 'why me' in the collective and now understand that impact and my love for community is deeper than what I'm able to see."
The retreat also included introductions to industry leaders, an upscale lunch at Vinateria, Black-woman owned Spanish and Italian restaurant, shopping at woman-owned shop Nohble, and an intimate wellness retreat at the women-owned, women-led Shou Sugi Ban House in the Hamptons.
The group also had a one-of-a-kind experience at Barclays Arena, the home of the Brooklyn Nets. The official Barclays announcer gave individual court introductions for each member, along with breakfast, a sports product review, and an open run-training session led by Niki Avery, the two-time basketball champion and two-time MVP.
Adina Ernie, the general manager of Barclays Area and one of the few women who hold this industry position, also greeted the group.
One objective of the meetup was for the women/femmes to examine the legacy of their projects.
"I hope that my work leaves a cultural impact by simply reminding others that interconnectedness is longevity and in time, love heals all," said cohort member Marisa Bryant. "I hope I inspire people to love themselves and each other more. Being true to you and what you love will always take you to the greatest heights and anywhere you desire to go."
Cohort member Jourdan Ash added: "I hope my work inspires the younger generation (and even women as a whole) to choose to do more of what they want and what they're passionate about while remembering where they come from."
As these women take on more responsibility with their community, they also consider the role of leaders and actions that allow them to make a lasting impact.
"The leaders I've admired have always known when to be in the forefront and when to lead from behind the scenes," said cohort member Kwynn Butts. "They balance guidance with development and don't lose sight of what success looks like at the end of the day. And success usually comes when you can continue to develop those around you, giving them the ability to continue to carry out the mission. They're people first, and remember that all of us are too."
Written by Tierra Smith