Dior, Nike, And The Return Of The Hype Trainer
A delay, a deadly virus and a looming recession couldn’t stop it. After first debuting on the Miami catwalk in December 2019, the Air Jordan 1 OG Dior, to use its official title, is here. Well, nearly here, and it's a hit.
Which may or may not be a surprise.
As has become the norm in the byzantine world of sneakerdom, those who wanted to purchase the trainers had to first sign up to an online raffle, which was originally meant to happen in March, before being delayed by the coronavirus. Instead, 1 July was the day that those who entered discovered whether they had the honor of being allowed into Selfridges' London 'collection point' this week (there will be hand sanitizer) to spend £1,800 on the Jordans (made in Italy, of course) and a range of Dior-fied basketball-inspired gear.
While that's the official release, VIP pairs are already in circulation, giving us a glimpse into the hype crystal ball. According to the sneaker resale and analysis platform StockX, pairs that have already been put up for sale are crossing the £7,000 threshold.
"For sneakers with at least 20 sales, it's the #1 most expensive sneaker on our marketplace," says Derek Morrison, senior director, Europe at StockX? "Thus far, we've only seen a couple dozen sales; however, there are currently over 700 active Bids, and 450 Bids are over retail. The demand is real.
"After the Selfridge’s pop-up next week, we expect more supply will hit the market and prices will likely fall. So we should keep that in mind when evaluating the current resale prices. That said, it is clear from the numbers that this is a very hype release, and it may set StockX records for 'luxury' sneakers."
A model walks the Dior runway in Miami wearing the Air Jordan Diors
Cast your mind back even a few weeks and it's hard to conceive of a sneaker released in the current climate going for such prices and creating this level of demand. There were predictions of a looming recession in China and an existential reckoning for the fashion industry. Who wants to buy trainers right now? Let alone ones that cost as much as a reasonably-priced hatchback? And yet, Dior is Dior, and these trainers have become the undisputed luxury release of the year.
Part of that can surely be attributed to the Kim Jones Effect. In his previous tenure at Louis Vuitton he oversaw the original luxury-meets-streetwear collaborative zeitgeist bonanza, when, in the summer of 2017, LV paired up with Supreme on a capsule that still sells for huge sums on the aftermarket. Later this year, there is another off-kilter collaboration with Stüssy; a maneuver that shows Jones' skill at generating buzz, both for his and whoever he chooses to work with's brand. The Midas touch of top-tier menswear.
There's also, and Jones surely couldn't have known this at the time, the ongoing rejuvenation of the Jordan Brand, with a whole new generation being introduced to the '90s legend via The Last Dance and the record-breaking sale of the game-worn Jordan 1s that went for $560,000 at a Sotheby's auction in May, further solidifying MJ's debut Nike model as the sneaker silhouette of 2020.
The Jordan-worn 1984 Nike Air Jordan 1s that fetched a record-breaking $560,000 at auction
"It’s hard to overstate how big of a deal this collaboration is," adds Morrison. "To each of their respective houses/audiences, Nike, Air Jordan, and Dior’s iconography is almost sacred. Regardless of the emergence of sneaker/street culture in contemporary luxury boutiques, it’s still a big leap to see both brands surrender their image to the other’s interpretation."
"Despite the outrageous price tag, when an item is as scarce and rare as the Air Diors, it’s not surprising that demand far outstrips the available supply, even when society is faced with economic adversity."
As we prepare for the inevitable flocks of dripped out teenagers and luxury fiends to descend on Selfridges, brandishing their silver-embossed tickets (it's probably just your name on an app), there's something comforting about the fact that, for all the predictions of doom and collapse, a hype trainer can still send sneakerheads mad.
It almost feels like normal.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.