Union x BBS x Jordan “Summer ’96” Collection


After months of speculation and leaks, Union Los Angeles and Jordan Brand are finally rolling out their next collaborative project.

We first saw the 2023 Union x Air Jordan 1 back in April and first impressions were divisive, though that was also the case in 2018 when the first Union x Air Jordan 1 leaked, then again in 2020 when we first saw the Union x Air Jordan 4. Both of those releases are now considered classics. The presentation and storytelling on this 2023 collab is sure to sway the opinions of some of the naysayers.

Let’s start with the story. The project pays homage to the summer of 1996 when Chris Gibbs, current owner of Union, met his wife Beth in New York. This was around the same time when streetwear culture as we now know it began to form.

“The climate in Brooklyn around the time was unique, streetwear was in its infancy, Hip-Hop was transitioning from the underground into today’s preeminent pop music, and fashion was just a reflection of the times,” explains Chris Gibbs. “The year prior, Larry Clark’s Kids was released, and the world at large was introduced to the counter-culture youth angst of NYC. That year, The Fugees’ album, The Score, dropped, and we witnessed the tipping point of African American culture crossing over to American pop culture for the first time without having to be watered down. …And we are a couple of months removed from Baduizm dropping, which will show America, and really the world, the soulful Afrocentricity and a ‘Rebirth of Cool.'”

The Union x Jordan “Summer ’96” project was created in collaboration with Beth’s brand, Bephies Beauty Supply. Together, Chris and Bephie deliver a His & Hers collection that nods to the street style of the ’90s, though channeled through a contemporary lens.

The footwear is the star of the show, a men’s Air Jordan 1 and a women’s Air Jordan 1 Elevate, each featuring a weave running through the upper, similar to the ones seen on the Nike Air Footscape Woven. This design detail is likely a nod to the braiding and weaving of hair (Bephies Beauty Supply is involved, after all). Incidentally, the original Nike Footscape made its debut in 1996.

Accompanying the footwear is a full apparel collection consisting of streetwear staples such as hoodies and tees, as well as cargo pants. The “woven” theme from the shoes also extends onto the apparel, as the basketball shorts, dress, and cardigan are all fully knit. Accessories include a mesh snapback and a carrying bag that can function as either a shoulder bag or fanny pack.

The UNION Los Angeles x BBS x Air Jordan 1 “Summer ’96” collection launches Thursday, August 24th on Union’s website and in store. Check out selects shots from the campaign and lookbook below.

Union x BBS x Air Jordan 1 High OG
Color: Sail/Wolf Grey-Muslin-Pale Vanilla-Kinetic Green-University Gold
Style Code: FD2565-100
Release Date: August 24, 2023
Price: $200 USD

Union x BBS x Air Jordan 1 Elevate
Color: Sail/Kinetic Green-Muslin-Gum Yellow-Cone-Pale Ivory
Style Code: FD0696-100
Release Date: August 24, 2023
Price: $200 USD

Campaign Images:

Lookbook photos:


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