LeBron James has teamed up with Ghanaian designer Mimi Plange to bring some fresh, fly footwork to the people.
The eye-catching LeBron XVIII Low x Mimi Plange “Higher Learning” shoe line was inspired by the NBA star as well as the iconic varsity style that has been a staple in American culture for decades. The collection includes four different colorways, the first of which is meant to capture the spirit of the letterman jacket for its “social meaning as a status symbol and as a carrier for identity,” according to Nike.
Plange, whose personal brand draws inspiration from the beauty of Africa including its architecture and art, is excited to expand her reach into areas where it may not otherwise have been given a spotlight. “I’m inspired by African body art and body modification, and what I like to do is take that and make something really modern and something new with it. I do American sportswear, but it’s mixed with influences from traditional history,” she told Face2Face Africa in 2019, starting at 1:30. “More like body scarifications on the face or geometries or architecture. All of those things mixed together.”
“It’s amazing to shine a light where there hasn’t been enough light: bringing more voices into design,” she told Nike. “Having the space to speak a sense of self through design carries a lot of power.”
Plange’s colorful designs have been worn by famous faces including Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Gabrielle Union, Yvonne Orji, and Nicole Scherzinger. Her fashions were also among those used in “Coming 2 America,” whose design team was led by Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter.
The designer, a native of Ghana who moved to California at age 5, has learned from her personal experiences that people are not as different as they may think and feels that this frame of mind colors the way she creates.
“My interests are in people. I’ve 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,” she said to Nike. “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.”
The Mimi Plange x Nike LeBron 18 Low “Higher Learning” will be available starting June 2 on Plange’s website, Nike’s SNKRS app, and select retailers.