The Nike and Jordan brands are known for coming up with new ways to get people to spend money. Often, the anniversary of a particular marketing campaign or significant moment intersects with a retro release for a sneaker that is not new to the market. In other cases, Nike and Jordan will flood the market with a release of a particular shoe related to Michael Jordan on the 23rd anniversary of the original release to coincide with the number originally worn by the most iconic player in the history of basketball.
Another anniversary has popped up in 2015. No, not the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan 1. No, not the 23rd anniversary of the Air Jordan 7. But yes, both of those shoes are getting major retros this year. The current campaign in motion is the "retroing" of the Air Jordan collaboration with Warner Brothers and their famous Space Jam campaign and movie.
In an effort to build some hype around yet more sneakers being dropped into an already overloaded market, Nike is bringing back several shoes that are linked to the Space Jam or Warner Brothers collaboration or just allowing the designation to fall on shoes that are not original colors, new releases or never had any true relationship to the campaign.
In 2015, the Air Jordan 1 Hare was brought back, a non-original variation of the shoe. Nike also has released a corresponding "grade school" or "girls" shoe called the Air Jordan 1 Lola to correspond with the Lola Bunny character.
The Air Jordan 1 Hare and Lola releases make sense based on design implemented on the shoe. They are fun and incorporate elements that the original Bugs Bunny "Hare" Air Jordan featured, a link to the original that adds unique "Hare" branding to keep the shoe linked to the Bugs and Lola characters from Space Jam. Another legitimate retro, the Air Jordan 7 Hare, which is the shoe that Bugs Bunny actually wears in the Space Jam campaign is set to release again next month. These shoes are fun and present a great link for both new sneaker fans and the older generation that grew up with Michael Jordan and the Space Jam movie.
A line is crossed in the marketing though when they try to drop "retro" releases of a sneaker that never was before, then allow the nickname of the shoe to drop, though never an official name, which correlates to the Space Jam campaign even though it actually does not and never did. The biggest culprits of this for Nike is the Air Jordan 7 "Barcelona Nights" and Air Jordan 7 Girls Black/Bright Citrus-Court Purple retro releases.
The "Barcelona" shoe is a new colorway that everyone dubbed as the "Marvin the Martian" release long before it came out. While the origin of the nickname is unknown, it definitely was promoted as such by major websites such as Sole Collector who have grown close ties to sneaker giants Nike and adidas. It seems likely that they helped promote the shoe nicknames which created a false hype for a new sneaker that never had any connections to the original release of the shoe or any sort of Space Jam branding. The shoe was only branded by Nike as the "Barcelona Nights" design based on the United States Men's Basketball team, dubbed the "Dream Team," that dominated the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
The Air Jordan 7 Girls Black/Citris/Purple release was dubbed the Air Jordan 7 "Lola" even though it never had any link to the original Warner Brothers or Space Jam campaigns. Further, the shoe bears no branding or unique design which shows the "Hare" or "Lola" branding in any way. The strength of the name is real, but the true history or correlation of the shoe is not.
We got our hands on a pair of each of the Air Jordan 1 releases - the Hare and the Lola. Check 'em out and let us know what you think!
Words: Daniel Coughlin
Photos: Air Lainey & Daniel Coughlin