Eastside Golf launches second collaborative collection with Nike's Jordan Golf to highlight golf’s journey toward inclusivity
The year 1961 was a pivotal year for the game of golf—when the PGA of America lifted its racially exclusive clause that banned non-white players from earning their tour cards and participating in competition. That year marked a symbol of change, a symbol that popular golf streetwear brand Eastside Golf and Jordan Golf Brand, are paying homage with the Change 1961 Collection. The collection includes three co-branded Eastside Golf X Jordan Golf Shoes and a 14-piece apparel collection from Eastside Golf with coordinating colors and themes that align with the 1961 Project. Several pieces in the apparel collection feature unique graphics inspired by the trailblazing golfers in history that have paved the way for a more inclusive future in golf.
The Change 1961 project includes a footwear and apparel drop, accompanied by the inaugural Eastside Golf Invitational in San Diego, California—where Joe Lewis became the first Black golfer to play in a PGA sanctioned event. Proceeds from the invitational are aimed to benefit the golf program of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. The prestigious Historically Black College (HBCU) is where the founders of Eastside Golf, Earl Cooper and Olajuwon Ajanaku, met on the golf team—leading to their eventual business partnership.
Expected to drop before the end of the month, Nike and Eastside Golf websites, the footwear drop features three new golf shoes in a special edition green/black/cream color scheme. The Change 1961 shoe collection will feature the Air Jordan I High G, Jordan Retro 6 G NRG, and Jordan ADG 4 silhouettes, each of which utilizes the color palette uniquely throughout the trio of classic Jordan golf shoe designs.
The Jordan I high top golf shoes have become one of the most recognizable shoes in the world, Michael Jordan's first namesake shoe to market in 1985. As part of the Eastside Golf X Jordan collaboration, this timeless shoe is presented in a crisp green and black leather design for a premium feel, while metallic accents add a little extra flair at the finish.
Denoting the collaboration prominently in the design, a repeating Eastside Golf scripted logo is etched stylishly across the swooshes. The word “Change.” is printed across one heel and “1961” across the other.
For a more all-out 90s silhouette, Jordan Retro 6 G NRG in this collection has a simple cream-and-black canvas accented with hits of green that tie it back to the collab. A speckled pattern across the green midsole design hit home the retro street-styling this shoe has become known for. And, as with most Jordan pieces, it’s the details that make this shoe an instant icon. From the luxe gold bar lining the molded heel tab, metallic embroidered Air Jordan logo at the back and custom Eastside Golf branding at the tongue and lace lock—every design elements feels intentional and fashion-forward.
On the golf side, it’s got a traction-filled spiked outsole, water-repellent upper and a comfortable-yet-lightweight foam at the midsole.
The limited edition Jordan ADG 4 golf shoes take a traditional style wingtip and blend the contemporary nature of Eastside Golf with the beloved retro Jordan flavor. Of the three shoes, this is the most subtle, with the soft full-grain leather peaking a classic Jordan elephant print at the heel.
Each shoe is displayed in a specialized box, printed with the words "in honor of those who paved the way for change".
Accompanying the shoes is a 14-piece apparel capsule that includes long and short-sleeved tees, polos, hoodies, sweatpants, and a hat. The brand has mastered the balance between casual yet polished looks with its crewnecks and jogger sweatpants, which shines through in this lifestyle wear drop. The Change 1961 collection debuts new imagery of unrecognizable figures in a newspaper formatted layout. We're familiar with the names of Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder, and Calvin Pete, all accredited with diversifying golf, but there are countless other hidden figures that too should be recognized—and this collection is seeking to do just that. The vintage aesthetic of the graphics stays true to the era that the capsule is honoring, while maintaining a contemporary feel.
The colorway of the apparel coordinates with the shoe capsule—with black, green, and cream palettes strongly present. The colors of this capsule resemble the specific shades of green and black used in the Pan-African flag, a symbol of freedom and liberation among African descendants. The flag traditionally includes red, however, the focus on black and green aims to represent the growth of Black culture, which certainly applies to the expansion of the game globally to be more inclusive of people of color—Eastside Golf as a brand is an example of this growth.
“When it comes to Eastside Golf, we want to see the brand continue to change the sport, and shift perspectives on how people around the world view the sport,” said Eastside Golf co-founder Earl Cooper. “With the 1961 Project, we want people to learn about the change-makers who paved the way for more people of color to pursue this field and get a fair shot.”
In conjunction with the shoe and apparel drops, the Eastside Golf team produced a short film that outlines the complicated nature of golf's racial history. With the mixed-media usage of graphics and footage in the new line of apparel, the three-minute film alludes to the larger messaging that inspired this collection and the real-world application of using fashion as a driving force.
“Designing this special collection, we knew we wanted the story and message of 1961 to be about where golf has been as to where it is going,” said Ajanaku, who is the creative mind behind the Eastside Golf logo. “We created Eastside Golf to improve the experience and entry points for new, young, and emerging working professionals by providing a culturally influenced experience of the game.”