China’s leading sportswear company, LI-NING Company, and NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade has announced that award-winning footwear and accessory designer Alejandro Ingelmo has been selected as a Creative Consultant for Special Projects for WADE, the new athletic and lifestyle footwear and apparel collection launched in October. As Chief Brand Officer, Wade personally selected Ingelmo as his first design hire to collaborate on two sneakers for WADE.
Often referred to simply by his initials “AI,” the Cuban-American Ingelmo has been turning heads with his modern and innovative looks that pay homage to traditional craftsmanship, his Cuban heritage, and New York City’s edge, since he launched his first line in 2006.
His boutique retail store on Wooster Street in Manhattan's Soho area is a favorite among celebrities and athletes, including Wade, Rihanna, Chris Evans, Emma Stone, Joe Jonas, Rita Ora, Allison Williams, Christina Ricci, and others. In 2008, AI, who grew up in Miami, was a Top Ten finalist of the prestigious CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, which recognizes the best up-and-coming design talent. He was nominated in both 2009 and 2011 for the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design.
“I’ve been of a fan of AI for a long time now and from the moment I partnered with LI-NING I’ve been excited to bring him onto our design team,” said Wade. “Alejandro's knowledge of mixing fashion and street elements into his designs mirrors my personal style and the vision for the footwear we will bring to the market.”
AI’s first design for WADE will be a lifestyle/basketball cultural sneaker that leverages the Way of WADE on-court shoe that Wade has been wearing during games this season. The shoe will be available in spring 2013 after debuting during AI’s Fashion Week Show in New York City in February.
Wade will serve in an official capacity as Chief Brand Officer, and be responsible for guiding the creative direction of all WADE products. He will work with LI-NING’s WADE leadership team to spearhead the global marketing strategies and initiatives aimed to build brand awareness in the United States and China. Wade will provide significant input and approval license of all future endorsers for the WADE brand, and be instrumental in selecting the athletes he feels best embody the presence, perspective and personality of the brand.
“Working with Dwyane and LI-NING is a great opportunity for me and I’m excited for us to collaborate on some amazing products,” said Ingelmo. “Dwyane’s style pushes boundaries with his edgy approach to traditional silhouettes. I’ve been very impressed with the on-court WADE sneaker designs I’ve seen so far and they’re helping inspire my design, which I believe will be something very special and unlike anything else out there.”
Accessory Designer, Alejandro Ingelmo, debuted his first women's shoe collection in Fall/Winter 2006. Working out of his Soho-based studio in Manhattan, Ingelmo mingles the Cuban influences of his heritage with a directional New York edge. After finding initial success with his women's line, Ingelmo launched his men's collection in Spring/Summer 2007 and the demand was immediate.
AI's" quickly developed a cult following among editors and celebrities who were captivated by his classic silhouettes in exotic materials. In 2008, Alejandro was one of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Top Ten finalists and has been nominated in both 2009 and 2011 for the Swarovski Award for Accessory Design.