Earlier this month, Lebron James revealed his latest sneaker, HFR x LeBron 16. Not only would this be LeBron’s 16th sneaker collaboration with Nike, but this would be his first women’s basketball shoe, which was designed exclusively by women. Openly stating how inspired he is by the black woman, LeBron James and Nike partnered with Brandice Daniel, the founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row, an organization that highlights and promotes multicultural designers, for assistance with their latest project.
“I believe that African American women are some of the strongest people on earth,” says LeBron. “I grew up around some amazingly strong women and am inspired by the strength I see around me, including my mom, wife, and daughter.”
To assist with co-designing the HFR x LeBron 16 sneaker, Brandice Daniel called on ‘Project Runway’ alumni Kimberly Goldson and contemporary lifestyle designers Undra Duncan and Fe Noel.
After hearing LeBron describe his vision for the shoe, Kimberly Goldson says she felt a kinship between James and the designers.
“We each had something that connected the four of us based on what LeBron saw from his mom, and the sacrifices she made for him,” she says. “My mom did it. LeBron’s mom did the same for him. The connectivity was there between all of us.”
The collaboration between Nike, LeBron, and the women of the Harlem’s Fashion Row community proved to be not only a commercial success after selling out in five minutes on Sept. 7th but also proves that black women deserve a prominent position in fashion as well.
Forbes caught up with Daniel, Noel, Goldson, and Duncan about their experiences collaborating with Nike and LeBron James for the HFR x LeBron 16 shoe. Here’s what they had to say.
Brandice Daniel on how the Lebron James and Nike collaboration came about:
“Last year after we celebrated 10 years for Harlem’s Fashion Row, I put those 10 years in a really beautiful box with a sequenced bow, put it on a shelf, and said I’m really open to whatever is next, but the one thing I said was I would love to do a partnership with a designer for designing product with a brand that actually was going out to market. Maybe four to five weeks after saying that, I got a call from Nike.”
Brandice Daniel on selecting co-designers for the project:
“I had worked with designers Kimberly, Fe and Undra on different projects for Harlem Fashion Row. They all approached previous projects with integrity and so much excellence and I knew they were the ones that I would want to work with on this.”
Kimberly Goldson on where the inspiration was pulled from to design the HFR X LBJ sneaker:
“We got together before we went to Nike to start talking through our preliminary design ideas. Since we all design from a different aesthetic for own collection but we shared the same commonalities such as luxury, gold and wanting women to feel that opulence. We used that as our jumping off point. We pulled color and swatches of things that we thought we’d love and what would really resonate with the consumer. We got to a really different place in the end but I think that it organically happened because as we started to really get into the process, we learned more about each other and got a sense of where we come from creatively.”
To read the full interview, click here.