It’s not as if TV chef, entrepreneur, restaurateur and social campaigner Jamie Oliver needs another string to his bow, but with the launch of the Limited Edition JO-18 unisex sneaker range, he can also add ‘shoe designer’ to that already exhaustive list.
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Retro styling, premium materials
Limited to a run of just 400 pairs, the JO-18 comes in hi-top and low-top designs, which are available in two exclusive colors. Made with prime Italian leather, each pair features a retro-style Duffer sole and a unique Comfort Forever Footbed, which guarantees comfort and durability. With the JO-18 hi-top reminiscent of early classics like the Nike Jordan 1 or Air Force 1 and the low-top looking like a stylish reboot of the Adidas Stan Smith; this range should be enough to keep any retro sneaker head happy.
Why this happened
So how did this unique collaboration with UK-based premium leather and suede sneaker brand Seven Feet Apart first come about? The answer, as Jamie explained, is rather romantic. “My wife Jools and I were about to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary and I had no idea what to get her. We share an obsession for old school vintage hi-tops and I thought it would be cool to design a bespoke pair for her.”
It was then that Jamie reached out to his friends at UK footwear brand Seven Feet Apart, who in 2017 had made a pair of bespoke shoes for the couple’s baby, River Rocket. Both Jools and Jamie had become firm fans of their sneakers ever since, so the chef called them to discuss the possibility of making a unique pair of sneakers as an anniversary gift for Jools.
Jamie gets stuck in
But how hands-on did the chef actually get during production? Matt Bagwell, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Seven Feet Apart explains: “Jamie was heavily involved in every decision we made; the style, the material, the colors, the box. As he himself suggested, making the ultimate sneaker is like gathering the best ingredients together for a dish.
“We created dozens of possible styles on two silhouettes and narrowed them down to start physical prototyping. With such a significant deadline, everyone involved had to work at lightning speed! The first prototype arrived two weeks later, and Jamie started picking the color of the anniversary pair for Jools – a beautiful aqua.”
Expanding the range
It was during this process that they hit upon the idea of producing a low-top sneaker too, with a colorway that matched the yellow from Jamie’s forthcoming Italy cookbook. And rather than just stick to two pairs, they decided to make a limited edition run of 400 pairs, and all in a custom box with a limited edition illustrated card, signed by Jamie – this certainly wasn’t a project that lacked ambition.
Share the love
Just 12 weeks after they’d first started designing the prototype, the final sneakers arrived – two retro hi-tops and two lo-tops. “After many discussions, sketches, mood boards and mentoring, here we are – with what I believe are the ultimate sneakers” says Jamie, “and Jools absolutely loves them, so we decided to share the love just a little bit wider.”