Welcome to "Heir"-izona
Dedicated to the next generation, the Air Jordan 1 High OG “Heirloom” is about going against the grain and making a difference.
For the “Heirloom” release, we’re partnering with members of the community who embrace the story of the shoe. Over the next few days, we will be highlighting their stories and how they’re paving the way for the community.
Welcome to Heir-izona.
Our Community Partners:
For over 20 years, Douglas Miles has used his artwork and his passion for skateboarding through his brand, Apache Skateboards, to celebrate Apache culture and pave the way for the next generation of Native American artists, creators, and skaters.
Apache Skateboards was born when his son, Douglas Miles Jr., broke his skateboard as a young teenager. Not being able to afford a name-brand board at the time, Douglas promised his son that he’d paint a generic one for him.
“I painted a little warrior on it and he put the trucks & wheels, and I knew what was going to happen,” he said.
After skating all day, Douglas Jr. came home and told his dad that all of his friends wanted one. The demand started there.
Douglas would continue to paint boards and eventually put them in art shows. In 2004, he showcased 15 boards in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the brand’s trajectory was fully set in motion.
Since then, Douglas, his son, and Apache Skateboards continue to combine skating with art with Apache heritage as the foundation for its creations & community-driven efforts. The brand has started sponsoring skaters, hosts events at various reservations, collaborated with Volcolm and iPath, and even recently partnered with The Skatepark Project (formerly known as the Tony Hawk foundation) to build a skatepark in Whiteriver on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona.
In addition to the community efforts, Apache Skateboards continues to spread powerful messages with its artwork with its most recent installment, You’re Skating on Native Land, showcased within the Desert Rider exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum - a sociopolitical exhibit celebrating & reimaging the automobile & skate industry by Latinx & Indigenous artists from Arizona.
“I felt like skate brands are kind of extractive. They’ll go to the barrios, go to south central, and even go to the reservation to take photos and grab footage and leave nothing behind and do nothing for the community. You’re Skating on Native Land is a reminder to these companies.”
In a short amount of time, Apache Skateboards has broken barriers within the industry & erased stereotypes for both the sport & the Native American community with its values remaining intact over the years.
But Douglas and Apache Skateboards have more for the next generation and beyond.
“I want Apache kids to be proud of who they were and be proud of their history, proud of their people & community, proud of their culture, proud of their art. By putting art on their skateboards, I feel like I can teach and show kids that our culture & our history is still important today.”
As a boy in the ‘80s, Jerome Fleming (aka KulorBandit) grew up around art, music, and creativity.
“I was watching my uncle, who’s a DJ, draw his own pictures. Graffiti and music were everything that was inspiring me. Watching my uncle create artwork to go along with his music and his promos for his shows is what got me started.”
Through the years, KulorBandit has brought his culture to the forefront of his artwork around The Valley of the Sun.
“I’m trying to put my culture on the map. You don’t see a whole bunch of Black art in the Valley.”
As a part of the Valley Metro’s Artsline series, KulorBandit created a mural located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, dedicated to Amanda Gorman - a Black poet & activist renowned for her work that touches on race, feminism, and oppression.
“I do a lot of work that has to do with social justice. It doesn’t matter if it uplifts the community or if there’s a situation in the community. I’m trying to speak truth to power.”
In addition to his current work, KulorBandit hopes to inspire the next generation to do their own thing their own way.
“It’s alright to be different. I want the next generation to know that whatever they believe in and dream, go for it. I want my artwork to speak to Black artists who might not be seen."
For his next chapter of work, he plans to focus on the Black woman.
“I want to bring the Black woman into the next conversation. I want to spotlight them because they’re constantly on the outskirts, marginalized.”
Starting as an online shop and then becoming a physical storefront in early 2017, Maleny and her shop serve as a platform & place of empowerment for women in the Phoenix community.
“I hope to inspire women to believe that anything they want to accomplish & do is obtainable. Where there is a will, there will always be a way. I hope to do that through the store by continuing to bring people together for projects and helping them feel their best with the styles we curate.”
In just a handful of years, Maleny’s hard work and dedication continue to push the store forward. And she’s not stopping anytime soon.
“I feel like I can’t ever take this opportunity for granted; that’s the main thing that keeps me going whenever I feel unmotivated or overwhelmed. I remind myself that the younger me would die to be where I’m heading today. My parents are another reason that keeps me going; I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Whether providing women in the Valley the latest selection in styles & accessories or connecting with other powerful & creative women through photoshoots and styling campaigns, Maleny and Maleny G Shop are a reminder that the future is female.
“We never will know the answer to everything, but the willpower to find it will make all the difference. With anything, consistency is key and any start is better than no start, so less doubting and more doing.”
Before HEM, Kamden wanted to create a magazine that would highlight the art scene and overall design. He would meet Augusta Potts - an apprentice of Virgil Ortiz, a renowned Pueblo artist who specializes in traditional Cochiti figurative pottery among other forms. As Kamden began to profile Augusta and his work for his story, the two clicked instantly and began creating product.
“I ended up meeting Augusta - his knowledge of production is next level, he’s super creative, we get along great,” Kamden recalls. “He was studying ceramics at the time when I was pitching the magazine. I was going to do an article on him. He started making something and it turned into ‘oh we should sell this with the magazine’ but then we got so wrapped up in making things we needed like notebooks and little knickknacks.”
The two would start Hands Eyes Mind, a design studio that excels in creating ceramics, home goods, accessories, and clothing.
Like most creative endeavors, HEM would have to bend the rules to make things work.
“We were sneaking into a college laser lab where they have laser machines with bags of leather, lasering them. We thought we were going to get kicked out - we did two drops out of there.”
After two successful drops, HEM would start operating out of a garage that has now turned into a creative lab and art studio.
“We’re here still selling our main focus changes every year. That’s the beautiful thing about it; we don’t have to take a traditional path of a business or a brand. We’re an art studio, we can pick and choose what we want to work on.”
HEM started in 2019 and has since become a name in the ceramics and design space within the Valley but nationwide as well.
“The reason why we do it is to work with other creatives. We have people come in and collaborate. It’s an excuse to work with our people. We do all of this as a studio,” he said. “There’s not a lot of in-house manufacturing happening, and that’s something we take a lot of pride in. We figure out what thread works on the wallet and what doesn’t. It’s part of the fun, it’s unique.”
As the ceramics and home goods scene continues to explode, Kamden and Augusta hope to continue to push the industry in a direction that’s needed and well-overdue through HEM.
“We want to bring a lot of attention to ceramics. We feel like ceramics are amazing. Augusta has shined a lot of light into that community & culture. I feel like it’s missing a lot of community aspects that streetwear culture does have. Our products are high-end it takes a lot of time to make these things and research them and that’s the part we love doing. We feel like one day we’ll blossom into a full-on brick & mortar brand.”
Perfected in practice, Thought in every detail - those are the words HEM lives by and reflects through each creation.
“Our cups are made by hand; fired here in Phoenix; we’re taking every step necessary to make sure these products are meaningful to us. We won’t put it out unless we feel like it’s special in some way. There’s no reason people shouldn’t pay for one of our cups as much as they pay for a pair of shoes. There’s something in valuing the things you eat & drink and with the things around your house.”
Tana Hughes has always been capturing moments.
When she applied and was rejected for a sports reporter role within the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication’s professional program and was pigeonholed to be the weather reporter, she opted out and took a photography class to graduate.
When she started working with the Phoenix Suns, she went with the team to training camp in Flagstaff to capture the behind-the-scenes content fans wanted but never had access to.
Following the content's success at training camp, Tana came back to the Valley with a new role - handling the Phoenix Suns’ social media.
From being a lottery team to the legendary Bubble Run to reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly 30 years, she was there for all of it and every moment. Blowouts. Buzzer beaters. OT thrillers.
And following the NBA Finals loss, she decided to leave the sports world knowing that she’ll be back.
“When I was with the Suns, I got super sick and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in early 2020 right before the pandemic happened. Taking a break and seeing what it did to us, the sports industry, I realized that I had been with the Suns for 4 and a half years and missed out on so many key moments in my personal life,” she said. “Friends’ weddings, family gatherings, realized I had grandparents who were getting older who I wasn’t going to be with much longer, holidays, you’re working 24/7 in sports.”
“I wanted to step back from that. I loved what I did there and was super passionate. I grew up loving sports. When I joined, I fell in love with the team, the community, and the organization. I fell in love with the sport. To grow in the career path that I want to go down, which hopefully lands me back at a Chief Marketing Officer role with a sports team, I felt like it was the right decision at the time.”
Tana is still capturing moments in a new way as she oversees all digital marketing efforts for a nationwide construction company that’s in charge of major projects in The Valley.
“I saw it as an opportunity to get out and manage a team. It was something that I was looking for at the Suns that I never got the opportunity for,” she said. “When you’re a woman, especially in the sports industry, you have to continue to grow yourself. If you want to grow and get yourself to a CMO level, you have to bounce around companies and different industries. You have to know everything. It’s sad because I wish you could just internally grow into that position, but that isn’t how any industry works anymore.”
At the end of it all, Tana’s career path and choices will be a testament to betting on yourself and going after what you deserve.
“I hope my time with the Suns and the connection that I had with the Suns community on social media made an impact on at least just one fan and specifically to one woman who wants to work in the sports industry. My best advice is to chase your dream career but don’t settle for anything less than you know you deserve.”
As she continues to grow in her career, Tana’s eyes are set on her final destination.
“I’m not going to say I hope I work in sports again someday because I know I will. So I’ll just say that I can’t wait until the day I get to go back to a sports-related franchise and make an impact on that community. I owe a big thank you to the Phoenix community, especially the Suns community, for making me so passionate about what I do.”
The Air Jordan 1 High OG “Heirloom” releases in-store on Friday, September 23, 2022, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Doors open at 11 a.m. AZ time. Limited to one pair per person. For the release, we’re asking if you could bring a book (new or used) as we will be donating them to Anaik's Loving Library — a local non-profit that collects books for hospital patients.
Stay tuned for more.