Imagine being able to look at the Jumpman logo and see yourself represented, as a woman. Well, now that has ultimately become a reality, with the new Jordan Women’s collective. This moment represents redefinition, expansion, along with true opportunities and deserved visibility for those that help defy odds, break glass ceilings, lead in their lanes, committed to their communities, and rooted in basketball culture. So, you know us at MADE for the W are beyond excited to dive deep into this remarkable collective.
What does it look like when a brand doesn’t just create space for women but is willing to redefine its existing legacy based on their contributions? Jordan Brand has the answer with the unveiling of its first Global Women’s Collective. 23 women across Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, as well as additional
cohorts in London, Paris and Shanghai, were selected for the inaugural collective through which they’ll create and undergo an engaging programming mix (including retreats, dinners, events, panels and more) over a six-month period to reestablish what the Jumpman logo stands for – outside of the terminology and imagery that have previously been associated with it. These women weren’t simply selected by the Jordan Brand, they’ve been acknowledged by their respective communities as fire starters who exemplify the best of Basketball culture, a central pillar of the brand’s ethos. “What gets us out of bed every morning in Jordan Women’s is the opportunity to advance equity for women through Basketball culture,” said Andrea Perez (Jordan Brand Women’s VP/GM). “The Women’s Collective allows us to do this from the ground up – providing connection, fellowship and a platform to women that are pushing the boundaries at the local level.”
While we have seen a rise in initiatives aimed at inclusivity and iterations of the word keep accusable of performativity at bay, it is the framing of this work that differentiates the Global Women’s Collective and in turn, basketball-culture from sneaker-culture. Instead of a collective moonlighting as a product-incubator banking on cultural-capital, the Women Collective is about Jordan’s long-term investment in relationships; it is not reactive but reflective and understands that legacies are built not bought. Members are provided with grants so they can activate in the ways they deem to be best as defined by their own visions for the various communities they serve and industries they work in.
The Women’s Collective is a first look into the brand’s next chapter whose pages turn only as its growing family members write them. At the six-month mark, the collective won’t simply end, Jordan will continue building upon its investment in and with each individual unbound by time, and the women involved will select new members to join their ranks, creating a network of empowerment that proves that there is indeed room for all women at the table. As the retreats continue, Jordan is concurrently developing a more robust framework for its curriculum by identifying the needs of its participants and distilling commonalities in hopes and dreams versus the complexity of issues that women face. Subsequently, creating a curriculum design that encourages dialogue, fosters relationships, and strengthens leadership skills. Growth becomes undefinable by a single definition, its only measure being the depth of a relationship. Sobe Okeke (Jordan Brand Los Angeles Marketing Specialist) stated that “from leadership opportunities that enable women’s empowerment to opportunities that create more equity for women to be successful in their ventures, this collective of amazing women fearlessly pushes sneaker culture forward, opening doors for more diversity and allyship in the industry as well as in their communities.”
As kick-off retreats in each city have already happened and the women have begun to outline the bounds of these bonds with residual emotions that bubble when recalling the sound advice offered by Beth Gibbs, Union LA’s and founder of Bephie Beauty Supply, the ebullience of Dana Scruggs’ laugh, photography legend, the luminosity carried by Aleali May, revered visionary, the undeniable magnetism of Sheryl Swoopes, the first player signed to the WNBA, or the work in progress by WNBA trailblazers Chelsea Dungee and Aerial Powers who were passed the baton, what lingers and pervades is a new kind of fulfillment. For many of the women involved, to be in the room with others like them is easily overwhelming, an infectious slew of emotions that aren’t just validating but deeply compelling. Some of them may have never crossed paths if not for the collective despite sharing the same efficacy for social advancement and equity. “The energy was powerful, and I’ve never been in a space where a brand brought together a group of women for an actual purpose,” said LA Collective member, Monica Kran.
While this is just the beginning of their work through the collective and there’s no telling what exactly will come out of these relationships and opportunities, Jordan can say the glass ceiling will shatter and the brand itself will become the bridge for these women to cross into new territories, both emotional and physical, on the court and off it.