BRONZEVILLE-Michael Jordan and his legendary brand are as Chicago as a 6 wing dinner from Harold’s Chicken.
That’s why when Jordan Brand opened up their flagship store right in the heart of downtown at 32 South State Street in October of 2015, they were welcomed with open arms….and of course long lines. Even so, simply put, Jordan Brand is a part of Chicago’s DNA and what better way to embrace this than through partnerships and collaborations with some of Chicago’s most popular and most notable artist/influencers like Hebru Brantley and Andrew Barber (Fake Shore Drive )just to name a couple.
Now, Jordan is growing their reach within the Chicago community through a partnership with Little Black Pearl, South Side cultural arts center/public high school that has provided opportunities in art, culture and entrepreneurship to Chicago youth for 18 years.
As part of the overall WINGS initiative, Jordan’s community action program, Little Black Pearl offers a 10-week program with a curriculum geared towards the footwear and apparel design industry, with classes taking place at Jordan Brand’s Chicago store at 32 South State Street.
Each session, 23(in honor of the GOAT) students will be chosen to take part in the 10-week program and are taught, mentored, and inspired by some of the best designers Chicago has to offer. During the program, students are split into teams and assigned a Jordan Brand designer to collaborate with and assist with a design for a potential Jordan Brand t-shirt.
At the conclusion of the program, each team presents a custom t-shirt design to a panel comprised of Jordan Brand and Chicago designers. The two winning designs are printed onto a Jordan graphic tee and are made available for purchase at 32 South State. The Jordan Brand WINGS initiative also award grants to seniors as they continue to pursue their education and passion for art and design.
The partnership between Jordan Brand and Little Black Pearl offers Chicago youth an opportunity to chase their dreams and be a positive part of their community says Little Black Pearl Founder & Executive Director, Monica Haslip, “When you have crossed the threshold of the doors (of Little Black Pearl), we’re going to keep giving you opportunities so you understand that there’s a better choice and you are not your circumstance.” Haslip continued, “Whatever is happening out there in the community, doesn’t mean you have to choose that. You can choose another life if it is presented to you, and that’s what this partnership with Jordan Brand represents.”
With one session already under her belt and the 2nd group of 23 students already taking part in the program, Haslip says the sky is the limit for the Little Black Pearl/Jordan Brand partnership, “People will see over the next year or two an expansion of the relationship, which is very exciting. We are having conversations now about the next phase and how we plan to grow.” That’s great news for Chicago’s youth as Jordan Brand continues to leave its fingerprints in our communities.
The winning t-shirts from the first session are now available for purchase. Check the design out here and head down to 32 South State Street to grab your very own.