Photo Credit: Johnny Nunez
LeBron James Teams Up With Ghanaian-American Designer For His Latest Shoe
LeBron James has taken his talents to West Africa with his latest collaboration with Ghanian-native Mimi Plange, who designed his latest shoe for Nike.
Plange, who was born in Ghana and raised in Southern California, is a household name in the fashion industry and most notably known for her designs worn by former first lady Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Gabrielle Union. Plange’s designs were even seen in Eddie Murphy’s Coming 2 America.
“We are so honored to have created ‘Higher Learning,’ our first sneaker design in collaboration with LeBron James and Nike,” Plange announced on Instagram. “We are beyond excited and thankful to have had this opportunity to continue to share inspirational stories with the world.”
She added that the latest design was inspired by James and varsity style.
“There is nothing more empowering and enlightening than education,” said Plange. “The design is inspired by Lebron James and varsity style. The shoes are a powerful symbol of sport and school.”
During an interview with Face2Face Africa in 2019, Plange told the media outlet that she is often inspired by African body art and body modification.
“What I like to do is take that and make something really modern and something new with it. I do American sportswear, but it’s mixed with influences from traditional history,” she said. “More like body scarifications on the face or geometries or architecture. All of those things mixed together.”
According to an announcement from Nike, the LeBron XVIII Low x Mimi Plange “Higher Learning” shoe line is a collection that represents the second female design collaboration for James, which reveals his commitment to raising the voices of others who are creating positive change in the community.
“Her four-part LeBron 18 Low collection sharpens her focus through topics that share complex, varied relationships to sport. In the first shoe, her focus is the letterman’s jacket, an element of high school culture that’s rich in social meaning as a status symbol and as a carrier for identity,” Nike announced. “Her design ambitions reflect careful thinking of diversity as a mechanism that can, in fact, highlight relationships between groups. Plange remembers the profound cultural shift she sensed when she moved from her home country of Ghana to Southern California at five years old […]. She lived through what felt like the prototypical American high-school experience. The longer she was in school, the more clearly she saw that what felt like dichotomies could also describe a universal experience, shared by groups who participate in a set environment.”