Industry-leading outdoor footwear brand Merrell has teamed with painter Jordan Ann Craig. The collaboration will include brand-new designs while featuring bold prints from Craig, including nods to Indigenous design and nature.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Craig lives in New Mexico. As a Northern Cheyenne artist, she celebrates her heritage through paintings, prints, collages, textile prints, and artist books.
"It's so important for art to live off of walls, traverse the earth, and be a part of our daily lives," Craig said. "The shoes are not only my art, but they look like where I live and what I experience. We were able to celebrate that belief by taking abstract designs and bringing them to life through this collection with Merrell."
The collection includes five footwear selections, a fanny pack, a beanie, and a sweatshirt. Craig gives new energy to Merrell classics Embark Lace, Embark Moc, Encore Ice 4, Bravada 2 Demi, and Bravada 2 Mid.
In a recent Inclusivity in the Outdoors Report, Merrell discovered that 22% of Indigenous people said they are discriminated against when they are outside, in their natural homes. Overall, Indigenous people have lost access to 99% of the land where they once lived and connected with the Earth, according to a study.
"As we all have vastly different views on what art is, so too are our perceptions of the outdoors," said Merrell Marketing Manager Regina Hill. "It's essential to create a narrative of those diverse points of view. We were able to tell that story through our work with Jordan Ann Craig. This collaboration helps highlight the barriers found in our report and give a voice to a community with a deep connection to, relationship with, and respect for the outdoors."
In addition to the collaboration with Craig, Merrell is giving a $45,000 donation to the Fort Robinson Outbreak Spiritual Run for the 2024 edition of the run. In addition, Merrell is giving $3 per item sold in the collection to the run. In 2023, each child participating in the run was outfitted head to toe with apparel by Merrell.
The annual run is a 400-mile commemoration of the Northern Cheyenne breaking out of Fort Robinson, a tribute to their ancestors. The run is in its 27th year and focuses on healing, wellness, youth leadership and empowerment, environmental justice, social change, and cultural and language preservation.
"Art can be a healing piece," Craig said, "and I hope others are able to find that space within my work and through this collaboration."
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