Sneakerheads were shocked this week to find that the Lebron ’16 shoe isn’t just your typical Nike designer collaboration. Instead of looking to the leads of European design houses like Balmain, or Givenchy, LeBron James intentionally choose to design his first ever women’s basketball shoe with the help of three Black women from Harlem’s Fashion Row.

Harlem's Fashion Row - Runway - September 2018 - New York Fashion Week

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Harlem’s Fashion Row founder Brandice Daniel, and designers Undra Celeste, Fe Noel and Kimberly Goldson collaborated on the design of the shoe with James’ input.

The shoe was unveiled September 4th at the 11th Annual Harlem’s Fashion Row New York Fashion Week event.

Harlem’s Fashion Row is an institution in the fashion community long seen as a refuge for artists with lots of talents but little connections.

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It is our absolute pleasure to present one of the greatest athletes of our time, Mr.Lebron James. – James has been an awe-inspiring force in the community, with his many athletic achievements and charitable efforts, such as the Lebron James Family Foundation (LJFF) which started with a simple bikeathon and evolved into something much greater, the I Promise program. Now in 2018, the LJFF has opened its very own I Promise School in Akron,OH! – “We still give kids bikes, but it’s only part of the bigger mission. I don’t want any of my kids to become a statistic and drop out of school, like I so easily could have been.” -LeBron James – He humbly refers to himself as “Just a kid from Akron” but to us at HFR and many around the world, he is so much more! – “We’ve expanded with the I PROMISE Secondary for my middle school kids to make sure we’re meeting their needs as well. And my kids know if they put in the work, they’ve got a full, four-year scholarship to The University of Akron waiting for them.” -LeBron James – James will be honored at our Black Tie Fashion Show & Style Awards during NYFW.

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Brands were once hesitant to work with the organization for fear of alienating potential consumers but through years of determination they have become one of fashion week’s most buzzed about collectives.

This partnership and its commercial nature makes a significant statement about both LeBron James’ and Nike’s commitment to providing more than screenshots and lip service in support of black women.

LeBron James who was also an honoree at this year’s style awards and fashion show chose not only to honor the event with his presence he chose to provide it with his accessAs legendary model and industry trailblazer and another of the evening’s honorees Bethann Hardison said moves like this are “changing the perception that the Black designer doesn’t exist.”

Having the opportunity to design a shoe for Nike provides a designer not only with a different level of prestige but also with an economic boost as well. This a necessity since Black designers still have to do twice as much to achieve half as far than their white counterparts due to a lack of capital available in our community.

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Last night, we announced a project we’ve been working on for almost a year! @fenoel @love_ucny @kimberlygoldson have codesigned the HFR X LBJ 16 shoe!!!!!!!! – This moment meant everything because we finally got a chance to tell @kingjames what this project has meant to us. No one has to look back after they’ve made it, but he has given us the opportunity of a lifetime with @nike! – There are so many people to thank, but first and foremost we have to thank @marissa.nance from Native Tongue Communications for introducing us to this incredible opportunity! – Wow! When you don’t give up and have faith you’ll be blown away by what God does! – HFR has not been easy. Actually, it’s been really challenging, but I know this is my purpose. So the trials have been worth it! When I thought no one was watching, they were checking us out from the sidelines and waiting to present us with this opportunity! – Thank you @kingjames from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you @mrs_savannahrj for inspiring him because that’s how this all came to life! – Onward and upward! This is just the beginning! Let’s go! – #strongest 📷: @noemiemarguerite

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The theme of the event, where guests were encouraged to wear black tie and Nikes, was fittingly #TheStrongest and at the podium James thanked some of the strongest women in his life his mother, his wife and long time partner Savannah, and his baby girl Zhuri who he brought along to share the view of the loving crowd from his hip.

Beauties, we want to know what you think of the new shoe collaboration. Take our poll, below:


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