I've been collecting J's for about 12 years now. And I've been wearing Swooshes and Jumpmen on my feet since I was born. Literally. I also still own and wear Air Jordans. So in light of that, the title may be a litte contradicting on my part. You also may be thinking, "What a hypocritical bastard, to say such a thing". Although I still wear J's on a regular basis, my statement still holds some truth. Because most of my J's don't suck, but the guys who make them do.
Jordan Brand is no longer the brand it's supposed to be. It's not what it was. And I don't think JB will ever go back. If you've been around the sneaker market for a long time, you'll notice the significant change in quality control, mass production and quality of materials of the Air Jordan line up.
I'm not THAT old, but I've been around long enough to know that Jordan Brand/Nike was once a company was produced good quality Air Jordans that made the brand popular in the first place (I mean, other than MJ himself). It was their initial success that skyrocketed the demand for Air Jordans these past 6-8 years. It was their initial success that we can hold on to memories of owning our very first pair of OG J's. It was their initial success that broke necks in the school yard when you arrived on the first day of class. And it was their initial success that we now see highschool kids, young collectors, hypebeasts and JB bandwagon-jumpers alike, come out of the woodwork like never before.
And because of that, somewhere along the line throughout the past few years, there was a shift in the target demographic. More and more people want Jordans, in addition to the veteran collectors and OG sneaker enthusiasts alike. In retrospect, it seemed to me like Jordan Brand was out to test the waters with the Countdown Packs to measure it's success in the newly amassed sneaker community.
1. Mass-producing the ENTIRE Air Jordan Retro line-up (Air Jordan I to Air Jordan XX2)
2. Manufacture them in cheaper/poor quality materials and different molds to save money
3. Releasing them to the public at ridiculous prices ($310US ~ $399CDN/pack)
Jordan Brand crossed their fingers and the market blew up. I guess I was a small part of the problem considering I purchased all 11 CDPs and even doubled up on some. But even if I hadn't, they would be sitting on someone elses shelves, and putting money in JB's pocket regardless. And little did I know at the time, the quality was sub-par, which to me, was a forshadowing of the future of Jordan Brand footwear.
In my opinion, the CDP craze is what sparked the decline of quality Jordan Brand products. The way I see it, if you produce exceptional results across the globe by spending less money on solid materials, thus manufacturing more product and pushing them at outrageous prices, then...why would you stop? Jordan Brand came to a realization that no matter how shitty you're shoes are, people will buy them. So, like any business would, they took advantage of that. And in turn, took advantage of us - the loyal consumerbase.
As a result, less and less of us are buying new Js (including me), yet, they're still doing extremely well in industry. So who's clearing sales racks across the country? It's the new guys. Those said high school kids, the young collectors, the bandwagon jumpers and hypebeasts.
The modern day 'sneaker enthusiast' doesn't care about quality, where they came from, or how much they are. They barely know when they orignally released. They wouldn't know the history (and controversy) of the Air Jordan XI or the Air Jordan III, and why they're so popular, nor would they know the significance of next years Chicago X or Obisidian XII release. The average consumer buys the sneaker because it's "an Air Jordan".
Jordan Brand sold out to us and sacrificed their loyal customers who've bought J's for YEARS without hesitation, only to exploit the larger market of naive consumers who rush over to their local Champs and pay overpriced dollar for the latest Retro J because they see Yeezy rock 'em at some concert somewhere.
I used to think it were these types of people that were ruining it for everyone else, but at the end, it's Jordan Brand. That fact that they can slip away with producing poor quality Retros, garbage Fusion make-ups and ridicuous repetitions of colorways, while clearing record breaking profit margins is astounding. This kills the lifestyle. Hunting for Retros used to be fun for me, but nowadays, all I have to do to find the Holy Grail is to simply wait for it to release. It's lost it's appeal, somewhat.
elceritto91 @ NT wrote:
ISN'T IT OBVIOUS THAT JB/ NIKE HAVE BEEN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF US? They make something limited back in 05, then release it again, seriously imo they're point of doing that was to get a demand mainly from us (collectors), and then once they saw that we went crazy for it, they took advantage and retroed that CW again in 2010. Because they retroed that cw, that signals to me that any shoe is up for grabs as far as retros go. I'm not saying that we'll ever see thunder and lightning IVs, quay Vs, Tokyo Vs, XQ Is, or even DMPs, BUT for the simple fact that Altitude XIIIs did retro, anything is possible imo. The exploiting goes beyond that as far as we go though, JB waited 10 years to retro Concords, but only three years for the Black/ Cement IIIs (08) to now. Same concept with Black Vs (23 version). My point here, is that JB held out on the one shoe that we (collectors) fiend for, not saying everyone who wanted the 00 pair will cop the 2011 version of the Concords, but then they have no regrets about retroing shoes like WC IIIs, TB IIIs, BC IIIs, Black Vs (23s) with a relatively short amount of time in between each retro.
So the reason why they have waited so long on say Concords is because they don't want collectors to fully believe that they don't care about us, by waiting a long time in between Concords, it creates the illusion that JB cares about us (that's all JB needs to keep some collectors interested and to continue having the shoes be of some kind of relevance to us, even though, I'm sure most of the older heads/ people who know what's up do in fact understand JB/ Nike's strategy.
IMO, some reasons they have continued to retro the same stuff are 1) they don't have to bother with thinking of new stuff since the people will continue to buy the older cws...and 2) because JB is out of ideas as far as new models and also new cws on existing models.
I haven't purchased any 2011 retros this year to make a comparison segment or video, so I'm going to post Brian's video of the CDP 2008 vs 2011 comparison of the Air Jordan III black/cement. The difference is crystal clear. BTW, my opinions and views don't reflect those of Brian or Sneaker Files. Let's just get that outta the way lol.