This week we see the return of one of the best collaborations Jordan Brand have ever worked on, their efforts with Fragment Design. Before we can discuss the upcoming Jordan 3, we take a look back at what Fragment Design is and some of the other joint projects they have released with Jordan.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how much of an impact Fragment Design founder Hiroshi Fujiwara had on the sneaker and streetwear industry we know and love today.
Who is Fragment Design?
Fragment Design is one of Japan’s most influential brands when it comes to the fashion scene. The idea Fujiwara had for the brand was to bring together design, marketing and culture. Fragment Design began its journey in Tokyo, back in 2003. Hiroshi, nicknamed the “Godfather of Streetwear”, has had such an influence on the sneaker and streetwear culture over the years whilst remaining true to his original approach. Boasting an impressive portfolio, it is not hard to see why Fujiwara is held in such high regard in every industry he dabbles within.
Fragment Design is not Fujiwara’s only clothing line, however, as he also has an incredible graphic t-shirt label called GOODENOUGH on his resume. Abbreviated to GDEH, Fujiwara drew inspiration from vintage Stussy pieces, surfing and BMX’ing. He blended all of these qualities along with his background in Hip Hop and Japanese culture to create an aesthetic everybody loved. Fujiwara took two budding designers under his wing and showed them the ropes. Jun Takahashi and Tomoaki Nagao learned the tricks of the trade under Fujiwara at GDEH. Takahashi went on to create the brand UNDERCOVER which has since collaborated with Nike on multiple capsules. Nagao, better known to you and me as NIGO (a nickname Fujiwara gave him) went on the create streetwear powerhouse A Bathing Ape.
The King of Collaborations
Even though Fujiwara has found nothing but success from his solo endeavours, some of his most hyped products to date are collaborative efforts. That isn’t a knock on Fujiwara though when you see the back catalogue of collabs he has. The famous Fragment Design double lightning bolt logo has featured across some of the most iconic brands the world has ever seen. But we aren’t just talking about collaborating with streetwear labels for hypebeasts to fall in love with the product. Sure, we have seen many great pieces with Fragment joining forces with the likes of Converse, Stussy, Supreme and even Levi’s.
But how many streetwear brands can say they have jumped into creating products with luxury fashion label BVLGARI, building headphones with Beats by Dre and even launching a campaign with caffeine kings Starbucks. The Starbucks collab saw Fujiwara create takeaway cups, loyalty cards, and even launching a concept store in Fujiwara’s home base of Tokyo. It is collaborations like these that really solidify the power Fragment Design has within the many industries they are a part of.
Boasting more than thirty years within the streetwear industry, moulding and shaping the culture as we know it and bridging the gap between high-fashion and streetwear long before it was fashionable to do so. Fujiwara was a visionary, essentially an influencer way before Instagram had taken over.
Between his fashion labels, lifestyle and home goods stores and concept stores, you wonder how Fujiwara had any time left to do anything. Fortunately for us, he still had time to create some of our favourite sneaker collaborations today. Working with Mark Parker and Tinker Hatfield from Nike over the last few years, Fragment has put together some insane creations for us sneakerheads to enjoy.
We take a look below at some of our favourites so far, as well as one incredibly important apparel collab.
The Greatest Fragment Designs Collaborations So Far
UNDERCOVER x Fragment Design x Nike Match Court (2010)
A true full-circle moment. Student turned fashion designer Jun Takahashi joined forces with his teacher Hiroshi Fujiwara to create a limited edition version of the Nike Match Court.
The sneaker saw the two friends take over the classic Nike tennis silhouette, only adding minimal dual-branding which has become the norm for their collaborations. If you weren’t a fan of the brands, you might even miss the sneaker was a collaboration. The midsole simple featured interchanging logos for both UNDERCOVER and Fragment Design. An understated sneaker, yet one of the best.
Fragment Design x Stussy (2011)
Back in 2011, disaster struck. Honshu Island in Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake and tsunami. With Fujiwara’s ties to Japan, it was no surprise he wanted to help in any way possible.
Fragment Design joined forces with streetwear powerhouse Stussy to create a unique charity shirt. The tee featured both logos with the powerful wording ‘One world, one love, one heart’ across the front. All funds raised went directly to the Red Cross to help the victims from this awful tragedy.
This collaboration showed that there is a lot more to the streetwear industry than what may meet the eye. Two of the biggest brands pulling together to help an extremely worthwhile cause.
Fragment Design x Nike Air Force 1 (2013)
For me, the best collaboration we have seen Fragment Design and Nike create. With the Air Force 1 being such an iconic silhouette, Fujiwara had to pull out all of the stops on this one.
The sneaker comes dressed in a cookie and cream type colourway—brown leather uppers with cream midsoles, sock liners and laces. The sneaker an even more premium feel, the leather uppers featured a crocodile pattern. The iconic dual lightning bolt featured on the heel of the shoe.
Easily one of the greatest Air Force 1 releases to date.
Fragment Design x Air Jordan 1 (2014)
The Fragment Design x AJ1 is most definitely the most sought-after sneaker collaborations Fujiwara has been a part of creating.
Releasing in 2014 the sneaker had all the OG features we love from AJ1s. The back panelling came dressed in a sport blue colourway, whilst the front panels were blacked out. The rest of the shoe featured a more traditional white leather which made the contrasting panels pop.
The traditional Nike Air branding featured on the tongue whilst the swoosh also remained in the conventional black leather. The Fragment Design lightning bolts featured, but if you blinked you miss them. The logo is hot-pressed into the heel, so only the outline of the iconic logo features.
The sneaker released in minimal quantities and now fetches anywhere between £2,500 – £4000 on the resale marketplace.
Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3 (unreleased and upcoming 2020 release)
Finally, we see the release of the Fragment Design x Air Jordan 3. The sneaker was teased previously by Hiroshi himself, but a release never materialised. The original leak was an AJ3 dressed in white with teal and black accents throughout. A beautiful sneaker but one we it looks like will remain as a sample only.
Fortunately for us, we are finally seeing an official release of a Fragment Design x Jordan 3. The ‘Orca’ colourway sees the sneaker come in a mostly crisp white colour scheme. Black panelling features in the middle of the silhouette to contrast the white perfectly. This gives the shoe that Orca Whale feel. The use of tumbled leather gives it that luxurious feel we have come to expect from Fragment Design collections.
Branding, as always, kept to an absolute minimum. The iconic lightning bolt logo embedded on the heel of each shoe, similar to the AJ1. Another Fragment Design logo features behind a transparent Jumpman logo on the back of each sneaker. Releasing on the 17th of September, this collab will no doubt reach the dizzying heights of the AJ1.
There is no doubt that Hiroshi Fujiwara will go down in the history books. If there were a streetwear hall of fame, he would most definitely be one of the first names to go into it. High profile sneaker collaborations. Nurturing of talented designers that have since blown up and even the high profile commercial projects. Everything Fujiwara touches turns to gold. I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on everything Fujiwara will be doing over the coming years.