LeBron James is teaming up with Ghanaian-born designer Mimi Plange for a four-part LeBron 18 Low collection that celebrates diversity and a sense of community. The series of colorways collections is the second collaboration between the NBA star and a female designer. It is the first-time-ever Plange is designing sneakers.
The collection is a testament to James’ commitment to using his platform to highlight voices that are creating a positive impact. This makes Plange the right fit for this collabo. She brings to the project a fresh eye for design meant to open new perspectives in and around African fashion.
Inspiration for her work is rooted in African art, architecture, and rituals, and these will be evident in the collection. “It’s amazing to shine a light where there hasn’t been enough light: bringing more voices into the design. Having the space to speak a sense of self through design carries a lot of power,” Plange, a recipient of Face2Face Africa’s 2015 FACE List Award for Fashion, said.
She looks to zone in on sport-related topics and the different relations that people have with them in each design of the four-part series.
According to Hypebeast, the first design is an implant of a varsity letterman’s jacket that is an iconic symbol of high school sports culture. On what inspired her to create the shoes, Plange said: “Growing up, something I always loved while going through school was varsity style. The varsity jacket was this ultimate attempt to explore identity. You could tell the story of everything you did in high school because you won your letters – for basketball, for track, for performing arts, for anything.”
Plange, who migrated to the United States from Ghana at the age of five, said she has had a lot of experiences with many different groups of people. “…So I’ve lived through contrasts, like coming from Ghana and growing up in California, like not having a lot of money growing up and yet participating in honors classes, which included a specific kind of student. I think those experiences, along with the ability to travel as an adult, were big reasons why I design the way I do, because you’re able to see that the world is a lot smaller than you think, and that people are not as segmented or opposite in thought as you might think they are.”
Plange molded the “Higher Learning” colorway of the LeBron 18 Low x Mimi Plange in shades of mustard, burgundy, pink, and crimson, lined with letterman jacket-like striped cuffs along the foot.
Blotches of a basketball hoop, LeBron’s “Just a Kid from Akron” lettering, and a spirited lion mascot island are on each shoe, representing education and sports. She finished off with a fuzzy white Swish double outlined in burgundy and mustard.
Working with James, according to Plange, has been nothing short of amazing. She got the opportunity to bring forth his personality and influence in education, sport, and culture in her designs, thus making the world see James from four different perspectives. The four-part series will show him as a young superstar, as a family man, as an educational advocate, and more.
The collection of four shoes will drop throughout the Holiday season, with the first going up on Plange’s website, SNKRS and other select retailers from June 2.