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.