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Michael Jordan has big plans for his namesake brand. Making a surprise appearance at a press conference in New York last Thursday to introduce his latest shoe, the basketball legend said the Jordan brand has nowhere to go but up. The new shoe represents a departure for the company. First of all, it’s named the Air Jordan 2009 (and not, as previous tradition would suggest, the Air Jordan XXIV), and it takes inspiration from fencing, motorcycling and from Paralympian April Holmes (the Jordan brand’s first female athlete). It marks a new era for the Jordan franchise, and it will serve as a springboard for taking the brand even further into global markets such as China, President Keith Houlemard told Footwear News. However, “His Airness” is thinking even bigger: “In 23 years, I’d like to be right next to Nike and just as strong,” Jordan said. “They’re our parent company, and you’re respectful to your parents. But you still want to do better than them.”
Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey (below) wants to thank Miami for the strange and unexpected shoe donation that occurred on Jan. 3, when 3,000 pairs of new and used shoes blocked traffic on the Palmetto Expressway. Those shoes are now en route for processing in Alabama, then will be airlifted to needy people in Haiti (at the request of a Florida Highway Patrol officer). To show his gratitude for the gift, Elsey is already planning a 20,000-pair donation to Miami’s homeless population next month, in partnership with Catholic Charities and the Florida Highway Patrol. “It’s going to be a fun thing because [this incident] is such a big deal down here,” said Elsey.
Forget hiding your significant other’s credit cards. Zappos.com is charging $50,000 to prevent loved ones from shopping their site. The new tongue-in-cheek “Cease and Desist” service, launched last week, will allow customers to disable someone else’s Zappos account for life and offers a limited-edition T-shirt to commemorate the experience. “People have come up to us and said they would pay us to turn off their significant other’s account. So we thought, why don’t we give someone that option?” said Aaron Magnus in business development at Zappos. “But also, people are going into 2009 with a lot of uncertainty out there, and it doesn’t always have to be so serious.” So far, there have been no takers, but Magnus told Insider that the company was ready to print T-shirts should demand arise.
Shoes & Awe
It was only a matter of time before a footwear company turned the image of President Bush being bombarded with a shoe into a catchy ad. Case in point: a new Kenneth Cole video, titled “Shoe and Awe,” airing on YouTube. It opens with the phrase, “This is the season for sharing,” then cuts to the press conference footage where the irate reporter threw his shoes at the quick-footed president. The video ends with the tag, “Need a new pair? Don’t miss.” For his part, Cole said the footwear fodder was just too good to pass up. “It was hard to resist the opportunity to bring even further attention to flying shoes on national television, aimed at such a formidable target,” the designer said.