When it comes to street fashion, the United States and Japan are global standard-bearers. Kindred spirits in soul and sole alike, when the Stars & Stripes meet the Rising Sun, the result is usually hotter than hell. This Fall, just as the summer sun is waning, Nike and Jordan Brand are unleashing their newest collaboration with Fragment Design, the brainchild of Japanese streetwear pioneer Hiroshi Fujiwara. Together, the creative minds have turned the clock backward and forward at once, producing some “future nostalgia” in the form of Air Jordan 3s and the all-new Air Cadence. Inspired by streetwear and gym-rags alike, the Cadence is the lifestyle shoe with the heart of a trainer, a perfect pair for the modern “athleisure” trend. On the other hand, Fragment X Jordan 3 is a fitting homage to one of the most important sneakers of the entire street style movement. Throwing-back and future-tripping combine for timeless results.
Rewinding the clock to 2002, Hiroshi Fujiwara first brought his vision to Nike as part of the HTM collaboration between him, sneaker design GOAT Tinker Hatfield, and former CEO Mark Parker. Their collective innovation led to some truly evolutionary footwear, and now Fragment’s founder has returned to remind everyone that as Leonardo DiVinci asserted, “simplicity is the greatest sophistication.”
The Air Jordan 3 is one of Nike’s most treasured silhouettes, and style-savvy Fujiwara has had the desire to give it his signature flair for years. The “Godfather of Harajuku” has been active in intercontinental street style since the 1980s when he brought crates of hip hop records back from New York. Since then, he’s evolved into a sort of “cultural DJ” who spins good vibes and fresh looks deeply rooted in hip hop and the streets. Just in the nick of time, Fujiwara has taken a time-tested, legendary sneaker and elevated it without overwhelming the original. From a distance, the Fragment X Jordan 3 retains the OG visuals but adapts the details effectively and distinctly. Closer examination might lead to a bombastic reaction once its true form is fully absorbed. From the bottom up, these kicks are an uncanny analog to their predecessor, but the originality is glaring at the same time. Clean white soles stand out below the signature black that stretches around the entire shoe. Fragment’s unmistakable double-bolt logo is covertly embossed on the side, but on the rear-heel, it screams boldly in black on white. Overlaid upon the Fragment logo is the iconic Jumpman in translucent clear plastic, reminding the wearer as well as onlookers that this shoe is definitely a Jordan. The shoe’s tongue bears both brands, with a white-on-white Jumpman on the front and an inverted “fragment” tag on the inside. Paying a stylistic nod to the “Orca” pack, the Fragment X Jordan 3 is an instant entry into the halls of envy.
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If the Fragment X Jordan 3 is a tribute to the past, then the Cadence is a glance into the brand’s future. The second shoe in the collaboration, the Cadence is a brand new post-basketball Jordan lifestyle runner. Like many new-age Nike trainers, this shoe bears its bones on the outside. The “Particle Grey” colorway provides a scaled tone to the sneaker, crossing boundaries between shades of grey and hints of blue. One look at these and it’s clear they were built for comfort, but the dynamic visual fusion between Nike and Fragment flips them into pure eye candy. The Cadence provides straps on the tongue and heel, which each brand stamps with their respective signature. One unique feature of both the Cadence and Jordan 3 is the addition of a “tooling code” on the lower heel, a signature of Fragment’s collaborations. If the J3 hypes simplicity, the Fragment X Cadence is a vision of excess that doesn’t overwhelm the eyes. The shoe features plenty of padding, air pockets, and a lightweight molded foam sole, giving it a body that exudes comfort. Whether worn on the run or on the beach, the Fragment X Jordan Cadence is a low-key highlight in the form of overcast luxury.
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Later this Fall, a third edition in the Fragment line is expected to drop- a brand new Jordan 35, which deserves its own airtime in the future. Meanwhile, global trendsetters had better have a nice nest egg saved up before reaching for a pair of Jordan X Fragments. Once again, Nike and Hiroshi Fujiwara produce innovative ideas in tandem with the indomitable Jordan spirit. Without a hint of primary color, the Jordan X Fragment pack proves the legendary Rennaissance man DiVinci correct. Sophistication doesn’t require complication but thrives with simplicity, and it transcends nations to elevate culture for its best results.
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