Renowned for his visual pop art style, the artist KAWS has become one of the 21st century’s most prominent artists. His paintings, sculptures, and figurines are sought after by fine art collectors and casual fans alike, with any iteration of his art selling for considerable amounts of money.
Not unfamiliar with the realm of high-priced collectibles, the Air Jordan line has continuously set the benchmark for fusing the world of art, design, and sport. Because of this lineage, a collaboration with KAWS - while at first glance seemingly contradictory - was a venture that instantly drew the attention of both sneaker enthusiasts and KAWS fans. Using the Air Jordan IV as the perfect medium, initial images of the limited collaboration generated such a response that we at Xhibition knew the only way to release the collection was to create something truly memorable.
With an insatiable demand for the shoes and matching apparel, we knew that there would have to be a drawing component to the release. However, we also wanted to create a release that would celebrate both the art of Kaws and the greatness of the Air Jordan line. After researching numerous venues, we realized the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) was the only choice. MOCA’s world-class contemporary art galleries and modern aesthetic created the perfect backdrop for what proved to be an unforgettable experience.
Despite wanting to make this launch as unique as possible, we also wanted our store to be a part of it. To do so, we created invitations that would be free of charge and available in-store on a first come first serve basis. These invitations granted each customer entry into the event, as well as one raffle ticket for a chance to purchase the shoe or an apparel item. Within two hours of announcing that the tickets were available, they had all been claimed. At this point, we knew it was going to be a special night.
Because the KAWS x Air Jordan collaboration is just as much a work of art as it is a sneaker, we wanted to bring the work of KAWS and the gallery opening experience to our customers. During the event, we created a dimmed atmosphere with UV black lights that simultaneously highlighted the shoe’s unique glow-in-the-dark outsole. To bring KAWS’ work to life, we utilized several virtual reality headsets that allowed users to visit KAWS, and view his artwork as if they were there. Finally, we created a special film that juxtaposed some of Michael Jordan’s greatest moments with some of KAWS’ most famous works. In conjunction, these elements worked to bring the attendees closer to the theme and story of this generational collaboration.
Utilizing a live raffle for both the shoes and apparel gave as many of our customers a chance to purchase a piece of this collection. While the demand far exceeded what we were able to offer, the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. We would like to thank you, the customer, as well as Jordan for helping to create an especially memorable night for Xhibition and the city of Cleveland.