A Ma Maniere Air Jordan 12 DV6989-001 DV6989-100 Release

James Whitner and his A Ma Maniére team aren’t cool enough to care. As part of the modern apparel and sneaker ecosystem, they’ve carved their own lane by being savvy about storytelling. For Whitner, kicks are products of greater value that can be used as catalysts to create change. “We’ve been at this for almost 10 years now, and through exploration, experimentation, and consistency we’ve carved out the principles that guide our work and our executions,” Whitner tells Hypebeast. Through a partnership with Jordan Brand, A Ma Maniére has written its own playbook on how to effectively bring social justice issues to light and highlight black culture and communities. And the next chapter in his story? The A Ma Maniére x Air Jordan 12.

The main title of this new initiative is “She Is The Blueprint”, which states that the partnership is dedicated to black women. Following A Ma Maniére’s Air Jordan 3, Air Jordan 1, Air Jordan 2 and Air Jordan 4 collaborations, these Air Jordan 12s are equipped with quilted overlays and supple suede dyed in a signature burgundy hue. The shoes come with an outfit set that includes a jacquard puffer jacket, a nylon shirt and pant set, a suede knit tracksuit set and a monogram jacquard hoodie and tees. To further express its feminist side, A Ma Maniére gave ladies first access to its in-store and online raffles.

Ahead of the release, James Whitner spoke to Hypebeast about his journey working with Jordan Brand so far, how A Ma Maniére focuses on timeless luxury, and what role black women play in culture.

“It never starts with the product, it’s all about how we can make an impact and serve the world first, and then we start cooking about how that gets experienced.”

A Ma Maniére has been working with Jordan Brand since 2020. How has your collective mindset evolved since then?

It’s less about the creative process and more about the relationship we’ve built. Jordan Brand has been committed to our shared journey since the jump. They understand how intentional we are about our mission and purpose in this space and believe deeply in the important message we can give to the world together. The issues we take on are big and need visionaries to want to walk this path with you. And so when that’s locked in and you have that trust and belief, creating becomes second nature. We are now much more familiar with how we think and operate, so we feed into our collective powers more naturally. It never starts with the product, it’s all about how we can have impact and service in the world first, and then we start cooking about how that gets experienced.

How do you feel about bringing your own unique design language to these collaborations?

From the beginning we’ve been encouraged to be us, and that’s as much in our stories as in how we execute the design from inspiration. We’ve always been obsessed with what A Ma Maniére and Jordan Brand’s executions would mean and deliver. Not many people in our space have the opportunity to do what we do, so we never, ever take it lightly. So if we’re going to show up — and show up consistently — we need to make sure we’re delivering something that the community that supports and believes in our work and journey is proud of.

Classic, timeless luxury is the ethos of A Ma Maniére. It is our commitment at every level. Visually, most will show the quilted lining and luxurious details. But really, the whole process should be different. From choosing the exact model that best fits the story to material explorations, we have to execute it to the highest possible level so that the final product is a one-of-a-kind timeless piece.

“The women on our team and in our business show up every day to inform the direction we’re going. That’s why this moment is important.”

When did the Air Jordan 12 first appear for you and why was now the right time to collaborate on it?

Every time we sit down to start thinking and shaping the next chapter, all minds come together to think of the best canvas. You look at the significance of this year, the timing of this project from a historical perspective and the connection of the silhouette to Utah having a moment this year — it lined up beautifully. But we all had a universal intention for this to be a moment for women and to figure out how we could draw the world’s energy and attention to focus on black women and their impact.

This collaboration serves as a love letter to the beauty and power of black women. Can you explain what black women mean to you personally and how they became the theme for this launch?

Black women move and shape the world. Period, point blank. Look at everything around you from how people express themselves, dress, and seek inspiration — all fueled by the essence and creativity of black women. Do they ever get credit for it? Not even! They put the whole world on what’s important, what’s next, it’s the pulse of every community, and they still have to deal with the complex issues of being black in this day and age and the issues that come with it. So as we began this chapter, the focus had to be on “her,” because she’s too important to ignore—and if we have the platform, then it’s our responsibility to always use it to speak to what we see and experience. . And once again, this is less about me and more about the world, how we all experience it. Our team reflects this. The women of our team and business show up every day to inform the direction we’re going. That’s why this moment is important.

How did you balance keeping the legacy of the Air Jordan 12 while adding your own flair to it?

The Air Jordan 12 is an iconic silhouette that is already at the pinnacle of luxury. In all fairness, the essence of the project is already there and in place, so our approach was to zero in on the details. This resulted in the burgundy shaggy suede adding rich, regal details and staying true to his ideals of how the Black woman is regal. We wanted her to be grounded in that as she is acknowledged, recognized and celebrated. Then add the quilted lining to match the higher level of black suede and white leather for the upper, and the finished look was excellent. The perspective was “this should be the shoe that ‘she’ puts men in and gets and excites the world with.” Too often, you see the process go into how to make it feminine — we don’t agree with that thinking. For us it was always about what we could perform that she would keep as hers.

There is always a story to tell around Black culture and community when it comes to A Ma Maniére collaborations. Do you feel pressured to find new ways to retell these stories with each release?

No. This is our “why”. More than product and moments, these are lived and shared experiences. We are fortunate to be in the position we are and have the support of Jordan Brand to do so. There is a responsibility that comes with that, and we will continue to do the work.

Can you tell us something we might not know about the collaboration?

This process was special because it coincided with a lot of parallel work we do in the women’s area. This not only reassured us that we were on the right track with this project but also that we were on track with our vision for the business. As we worked on this project, a women-led task force from our group held information sessions in our cities to inform what our Women’s experience should be, would be and how it would serve her. Now we find ourselves with this special project that brings to life the eve of the opening of our last women’s experience space this year. It will be called JAIDE — more on that soon.

If you could describe this collection in one word, what would it be?

Great. This collection really starts to show the intent behind what you can expect from us over time in terms of apparel and footwear. We’ve been given the time and support from the brand to get better and improve the aesthetic and it shows the fruits of the work of all our collective teams — now this is going to be really, really fun.

The “Black/Burgundy” colorway will officially release on February 24th with apparel while the “White/Burgundy” pair will release on March 2nd exclusively via A Ma Maniére.

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