A Nod At a Classic: Roc Nation's Emory Jones Partners With PUMA to Celebrate the Next Generation of Innovators

By Gabrielle Pharms | May 6, 2022

PUMA has launched its FOR ALL TIME campaign, highlighting its legacy as the classic sneaker brand. Through the new creative initiative, PUMA will examine the definition of “classic” through product designs, creative content, and impact created by The Collective, a group of iconic cultural tastemakers who have molded the sneaker game over the last 50 years. Helmed by PUMA’s Basketball and Classics Creative Director, JAY-Z, and Roc Nation’s Emory Jones, each member of The Collective will handpick a burgeoning member of the next generation of leaders within their fields and support their work and development with a financial grant and mentorship.

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As co-founder of apparel brand Paper Planes, plus long-time friend and business partner of JAY-Z, Jones has embossed his space in the culture, playing a vital role in leading the fashion sector of Roc Nation. “I just celebrated ten years as a creative partner of PUMA last month, so we have a long-standing relationship. With PUMA’s 75th anniversary coming up next year, they wanted to look at the classics and the impact the brand has had, so I was happy to be a part of that,” Jones tells EDITION. “From there, we wanted to bring people together that represent what it means to be classic and have that impact. That’s how JAY-Z and I became executive producers of The Collective. I appreciate PUMA’s timeless, classic approach to what they do – from their partners to the products and beyond.”

See more: Roc Nation's EVP Jana Fleishman Talks Longevity & Surprise in the Entertainment Industry

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Over the next eight months, The Collective will share their personal stories of development, while also sharing the backgrounds of their handpicked members of the program. New content via advertising, web content, and social media will be shared with the world on a rotating monthly basis. Jones states, “The primary focus is to inspire others to dream and see that they have the potential to do whatever they choose to do. This group is unique because everyone comes to the table with real stories, real struggles, real process, and real progress.” Jones personally selected Cambridge, Maryland-based freelance photographer Shamya Johnson for the project. He adds, “She’s from my hometown, and I wanted to choose someone that could relate to that small-town life because I want to show them that you can be from anywhere and still bring something good to the culture. Where you’re from doesn’t define who you are and what you're able to do. What you have to offer is just as important as anyone and anything else.”

The Collective has been profiled in a series of short films by award-winning director Nadia Hallgren (Becoming), beginning with Jones last month. In addition to Jones, The Collective is comprised of award-winning designer and PUMA Creative Director June Ambrose, Harlem fashion innovator Dapper Dan, acclaimed director and videographer Hype Williams, NBA Hall of Famer and PUMA Ambassador Walt Clyde Frazier, RHUDE designer Rhuigi Villaseñor, creative consultant and founder of Upscale Vandal, Mike Camargo, and legendary photographer Lenny Santiago who operates as the visual director of still photography for the campaign.

Jones cites JAY-Z, Dapper Dan, and Walt Clyde Frazier as the embodiment of classic. He says, “I define classic as timeless. There’s an impact and a legacy that is always relevant and important. You don’t ever have to play catch up with trends or culture. Their body of work is who they are. It speaks for itself.” Through The Collective, Jones seeks to “tap into people and see their potential before they even start making headlines,” he mentions. It’s beautiful to witness someone of Jones’ stature paying it forward to the next generation through mentorship and spotlight, proving there’s enough sun for everyone. Jones adds, “It’s easy to get on with someone who is already a hit, but I like to find those who are influencing the people who influence the influence.”

Click here to learn more about FOR ALL TIME.



Photography by: Lenny "Kodaklens" Santiago