Concept Lab // Union x Air Jordan 1 “Chicago/Royal”
At the time it was released, the Union x Air Jordan Collaboration kind of flew under the radar. It released at the tail-end of 2018, capping off a year of killer drops including Sean Wotherspoon’s Air Max 1/97, Travis Scott’s “Houston Oilers” Air Jordan 4, Virgil Abloh’s Euro-exclusive Air Jordan 1 and the widespread release of the Concord Air Jordan 11. With all that going on — and with its end-of-the-year release — it’s understandable as to why these didn’t garner the attention it deserved at the time.
The collaboration played into owner Chris Gibbs’s fascination with vintage sneakers and was inspired by the process of hacking up pairs of Jordan 1s to repair an OG. According to a behind-the-scenes report directly from the horse’s mouth, it took the design team upwards of nine attempts to successfully re-create the fuzzy weathered heel and collar of an original 1985 Air Jordan 1. And that doesn’t include nailing down the remaining details — nubuck Swooshes, exposed foams, zig-zagging Frankenstein stitching, pre-yellowed midsoles and the special edging on the thick-cut leather.
Its execution: flawless, it’s inspiration: unique and authentic — its everything a sneaker collaboration should be. And we think it’s time for some more hacked-up heat from the LA-based retailers.
The two released pairs hacked up four OGs: a Neutral Grey and Black Toe, along with the Bred and Storm Blue — but there are still many more OG colorways at their disposal for a follow-up release — like the Chicago and Royal, which we’ve imagined in Photoshop below. With two of the mos revered OGs in one, we’re tipping that these — should they ever come to fruition — may just be the most desired of the three.
Wanna see more of our sneaker concept work? You can check out every single one of them right here.
Union x Air Jordan 1 “Chicago/Royal”
From the HOUSE OF HEAT Concept Lab