Year 2020 was the year of the CHI - a city so important to the culture, the culture of basketball, the culture of art, and the culture of fashion. Growing up, one of our favorite hoops documentaries was Hoop Dreams; the movie really dove into the struggle of urban youth chasing their hoop dreams. More importantly, the two characters Arthur Agee and William Gates showed us the Chicago grit and determination to chase their dreams.
Chicago is also the city of the GOAT, Michael Jordan, our childhood god whom was everything basketball and style wise--the one who forever transformed the game and did things that made us fall in love with the sport forever!
This year meant so much to us, for us as a brand to be able to debut in Chicago was truly a childhood dream. When we go into a city, we don’t claim we know the city. We always work with local partners that really will guide us into their community. We teamed with local Fil-Am artist, King Marie and a local Chicago team, Cold Chillen to really curate an experience for her city where she grew up, born and bred.
Our first event was an intro of QORE to Chicago. We wanted to respect the local community and engage with the strong women within Chicago to share our brand story. King Marie curated a room of 13 women who represented a broad spectrum of Chicago. From a photographer, to a DJ, to a women’s brand designer, to a dance choreographer / activist, to a marketing executive, to a hip hop artist. Having them in the room allowed us to build out our #QOREHOMETEAM which we really want to replicate in every city. Being local and speaking to the women of Chicago gave us solid insight into Chicago: the meaning of Chicago to them, the meaning of the Bulls to the community, the history of the city. We also touched on issues of equality and diversity and having woman in the forefront. Getting feedback and engagement is invaluable as we grow as a brand; it was such a fun night sharing the table and just rapping with one another and at the same time introducing our brand to these strong women.
The week following the Hoxton Event was the actual All Star Weekend. We arrived Friday night in the city and worked through the night to set up our pop up for the next day (which was set from 11 am - 3 pm). It was our first opportunity to share the brand to the public. The #QOREHOMETEAM promoted our event on social media, sharing with their local Chicago crowd. When we finally opened the doors, the guests slowly started rolling in and we were so happy when we asked where they were from, 80% were from Chicago. A lot of the other brands held events with VIP lists, filled with out-of-towners. WE really wanted to cater to Chicago and intro our brand to the city as we knew we would be back. We loved everything about Chicago, the people, the food, and the vibes.
It was amazing to share our brand story. One of the highlights of both events was our designer flying in from Taiwan. Kimberly Tan was QORE’s first hire. She grinded from day one with Harry Ling (one of the founders) in Taiwan putting together samples, patterns, and putting together pitches to the NBA to acquire the NBA license itself. Although she was unable to fly in for the NBA pitch, being present at the debut meant so much to her and our team. She grew up in Penang, Malaysia. Her mother owned an alterations boutique, allowing her to be around a sewing machine her entire life. She not only designs but she can also make patterns. She played an integral role in the creation of our first collection! For her to be present and to see her work in Chicago, the city of MJ, a city full of culture and influence, was truly a pivotal point for her, we were so happy for her!
We loved Chicago. It was a wonderful weekend. We met so many great friends (you know who you are)! With Covid hitting shortly after, we haven’t been able to make our way back but Chicago is forever deeply ingrained in our hearts, our first launch city away from New York!