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In Making the Nike Dunk “Ours,” Chicago’s Notre Shares Its Story

January 14, 2021 - Michael Jaworowski, Notre’s co-founder and CEO, attributes his first encounter with the Dunk as catalyst for his career, his interests and his community-driven approach to retail.

“I happened to be at a hockey game for the local team in Grand Rapids and I saw a kid go up the escalator in some crazy red and silver Nikes. I was taken aback by them. When I got home, I jumped on the computer and just started searching Nike red and silver — eventually I discovered it was a Nike SB Dunk,” says Jaworowski.

The discovery steered an awakening. Jaworowski hit the era’s blogs and message boards, which led to a job at Grand Rapid’s Premier skate shop (and mentorship from its owners, Eric and Josh) and has culminated in a maturation through the business of sneakers and streetwear to the founding, almost a decade later, of Notre in Chicago.

“We wanted to be a place, a business in Chicago, that could uplift individuals and organizations in the city and believe we’re making positive changes,” says Jaworowski.

The store’s name translates from French to “our.” And within Notre there is a resounding commitment to cultivating connections and allowing a wider sense of ownership. “I definitely had an idea of the type of shop that I wanted to have,” says co-founder Jose Villanueva. “Community was always a big part of it.”

To make it happen, Jaworowski, Villanueva, co-owners Charlie and AJ Nordstrom and the rest of the Notre team have applied an ingrained diligence to a decidedly high-fashion, high-design platform. It is true to their unique ethos, a celebration of collaboration, curiosity, durability and work ethic. The store, for all involved, is a shared labor of love held by a belief that there are many valuable ways of doing things beyond one’s own.

With the Nike Dunk, Jaworowski’s love of the silhouette blends with Notre’s unabashed humility. A hard-working, Midwestern attitude rendered through the store’s elevated aesthetic. “We were always inspired by work shirts, and we wanted to make sure we represented durable materials and the triple-stitch details we associate with hard-wearing clothing and boots,” says Villanueva.

Subtle suede and leather details complement the clean colorways, enriching the story and adding texture. The medial Swoosh offers another element, making Notre’s Dunk “ours” — the linking hands that have become a brand hallmark.

The Nike x Notre Dunk releases exclusively at Notre January 21 in tan and blue colorways. A second release of the blue colorway follows January 23 on SNKRS.

Download hi-res images here.

March 14, 2016 - The Nike Metcon 2  "Strong as Steel” collection represents three phases of steel, from red-hot liquid to forged metal to hardened alloy. This colorway is inspired by the strength of hardened alloy.

The third Nike Metcon 2 Amplify from the "Strong as Steel" collection arrives on March 21 at Nike.com.

March 09, 2016 - The pattern on the new LeBron XIII young athletes' basketball shoe is inspired by the All-Star's favorite cereal.

March 08, 2016 - The Nike Metcon 2 "Strong as Steel” collection represents three phases of steel, from red-hot liquid to forged metal to hardened alloy. This colorway is inspired by forged metal in a malleable state of change.

The second Nike Metcon 2 from the "Strong as Steel" collection arrives on March 14 at Nike.com.

March 08, 2016 - The Nike Metcon 2  "Strong as Steel” collection represents three phases of steel, from red-hot liquid to forged metal to hardened alloy. This colorway is inspired by the intensity of red-hot liquid.

The first Nike Metcon 2 from the "Strong as Steel" collection is now available on Nike.com.

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The “City Collection" Nike Air Max 1 Ultra arrives March 16 on Nike.com.

March 07, 2016 - Inspired by ancient Chinese architecture and textiles, the “City Collection” Nike Air Max 90 Ultra women's shoe has a bright pattern dedicated to the vibrant city of Shanghai.

The “City Collection” Nike Air Max 90 Ultra arrives March 17 on Nike.com.

March 07, 2016 - Inspired by Victorian patterns, the “City Collection” Nike Air Max BW Ultra women's shoe is an ode to London's design heritage.

The “City Collection” Nike Air Max BW Ultra arrives March 18 on Nike.com.

March 07, 2016 - Inspired by Art Deco design and the iconic Chrysler Building, the “City Collection” Nike Air Max Thea Ultra women's shoe is an ode to New York's architectural history.

The “City Collection” Nike Air Max Thea Ultra arrives March 19 on Nike.com.

March 07, 2016 - Inspired by Japanese wave patterns, the “City Collection” Nike Air Max Zero Ultra women's shoe is dedicated to the city of Tokyo.

The “City Collection” Nike Air Max Zero Ultra arrives March 28 on Nike.com.