Creative Soccer Culture

PSG x Jordan: Is The Hype Still Real?

19 July 2022. Paris Saint-Germain unveiled their new away kit and collection for the coming season, the latest release to come from their immensely successful collaboration with Jordan. But rather than an avalanche of plaudits and fans gushing over the new look, the reception to it was strangely muted. It was a far cry from the hype that surrounded the original drop, or even the releases of the following three years, begging the question: has the ground-breaking collaboration run its course?

As anyone who has the slightest interest in football’s extra curricular activities away from the action on the pitch will know, PSG x Jordan was a truly trailblazing collaboration that ushered in a new era of football culture, welcoming the influence of basketball on the beautiful game. When the possibility of the hook up was first rumoured in 2018 it was so new, so revolutionary, that it instantly captured the imaginations of fans of new football culture the world over. What started as an all-out hype event fast became a well accepted and expected presentation of pure fire, crossing cultures seamlessly as it continuously brought two separate worlds together, with the Jumpman’s influence searing across the Parisian side’s alternate kits through the seasons, right through to last season, where it enjoyed a promotion to the home kit – a move that coincided with Lionel Messi joining the club, creating the perfect storm of marketing. But should that have been a final flourish and a fitting end for the collaboration?

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With that home kit last season also came the end of the exclusivity of the deal between the two entities, although it didn’t signal the end of the partnership, with Jordan once again back on away kit duties for PSG’s 22/23 wardrobe. However, the reaction to not only this latest kit, but the wider collection, has been so far from that of the debut season and even the subsequent collections that its impact – and therefore relevance – has to be questioned. 

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In part it could simply be down to the over-saturation of the product – several drops per season has diluted the premium feel of the collaboration. What was once a sought-after and difficult to acquire set of apparel and sneakers has perhaps lost its unique feel. That Jumpman logo in place of the Eiffel Tower was suddenly a street label that tied directly to football, signalling the shift in culture and acting as the perfect representation of football's newly burgeoning influence on streetwear. But to stand still is to fade away.

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Then there’s the originality factor. When PSG x Jordan first debuted there was nothing else like it. It was culture-crossing, barrier-breaking, and it felt that way. Now into its fifth season and the kit suddenly doesn’t look original, at a glance sharing design traits with the original white kit that dropped back in 2018. It no longer feels new, and that's a problem, as the novelty wears off. It could just be that this was a bit of an uninspiring design (grey is always a hard sell for a kit), though it feels more than that, as the lifestyle options didn’t pick up the same level of heat you’d expect either.

You’ve also got to wonder where they go from here to stay fresh. Through the course of the partnership Jordan have produced away, third, fourth and home kits for PSG, and they’re now back on the away. Add to that other culture-crossing collaborations from other teams, and suddenly the unique feel that set these collections apart just doesn't quite feel the same.

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PSG clearly pride themselves on being frontrunners and trend setters, and as a result it feels like PSG x Jordan may have naturally run its course. The trick to staying relevant is staying ahead of the curve, and as a club and a business, it's something the current Ligue 1 champions are only too aware of. A simple glance in the direction of other lifestyle-centric collections and collaborations that they currently have with the likes of Edifice and Goat is more than enough to show that they are still comfortably leading the streetwear scene from a football perspective. Talk about being in a league of their own, no one else is even close.

The collaboration with Jordan was a key moment for PSG as they went about establishing themselves as the leading streetwear club in the world. It was an era-defining partnership, and other clubs from across Europe looked on with envious eyes. Now though, it may be time to re-evaluate that particularlar link up.

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Likewise, Jordan have put a strong marker down in terms of influence in football through this collaboration, but if they want to continue to build upon that then it may well have to be with a team or teams away from PSG, with no shortage of potential suitors likely waiting in the wings, eager to pick up where PSG leave off. Like when a relationship has run its course, sometimes it's better to just walk away amicably rather than wait until it gets stale and messy. If that’s done well here then it also leaves the door open to an reunion down the line, which would inevitably be huge, given the unquenchable thirst for throwback.


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Daniel Jones

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