I have this recurring clothing fantasy where I'm transported back to Nike Town circa 1994 and given an unlimited credit card (that or a giant bag of cash with a comically-large dollar sign on it) and am allowed to run wild. Just think of all the clashing prints. The first issue Air Max. The oversized football shirts before they became dull, homogenised templates. The snapback team caps and the mad tracksuits! The Agassi and Sampras tennis gear. All that neon.
Unless Bezos or Musk or one of those other tech freaks decides to pull their finger out once they've finished colonising Mars, that fantasy will remain just that. Yet time machine or not, the Nineties continues to exert unmatched influence over the world of sportswear, as ably demonstrated by The Last Dance: the gripping Netflix docu-series centred around the Chicago Bulls teams that dominated the decade.
A series that is as much about retro Nike as it is about giant men with bigger egos, the sustained pressure cooker bathing a complicated ageing icon and the basketball empire built around him. It shows Michael Jordan as a smiling tyrant, an American deity, an elite bearer of grudges and the blueprint for ostentatious Nineties athlete style, right down to the boxy Range Rover, wraparound shades, enormous suits and sparkling diamond hoop earring.
"Jordan models are always up there in our top sellers, but following the premiere [of the The Last Dance], StockX buyers can’t seem to get enough" says Jesse Einhorn, senior economist at the sneaker and clothing resale platform. "There has been a huge surge in interest on StockX for sneakers, collectibles, and merchandise relating to all things Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls teammates.
"On the day of the premiere, we saw a 63 per cent increase in traffic on Jordan Brand pages and a 90 per cent increase in Jordan sneaker sales, relative to a typical Sunday. In the weeks since the documentary aired, Jordan Brand sneaker sales are up 40 per cent. This is partially due to major drops like the Jordan 5 Fire Red and Jordan 6 DMP, but it also reflects an across-the-board increase in demand for Jordan products."
"Some credit [for the Jordan brand's sustained appeal] is surely due to Nike’s brilliant marketing team, and some to the roster of collaborators - from Virgil Abloh to Travis Scott," adds Einhorn, "but at the end of the day, the main reason Jordans still capture our imaginations is Jordan himself. He’s one of the rare athletes whose greatness transcended mere fame and he has become the stuff of myth: a part of our collective memory."