- How did this collaboration come about? Do you have any personal memories on New Balance's running shoes?
- After our previous collaborative project some years back, we had been talking about next time. I’ve been a big fan of the brand since I got my first 320 pair (made by MoonStar) in the 1970s. In the 1980s, a clothing store I worked for started to carry the first 990, 770 and 1300 shoes, and it reminded me of the great fit and design of NB sneakers. A pair of the 990 has always been in my shoe shelf ever since then. The brand released so many collab items in the 1990s and all those shoes looked really unique at the time. And they were so pricey (as compared to other makers). Being made in the U.S. is another big charm of the brand. When I used my own pair of NB shoes to style clothes for our lookbook in 2007, we got a lot of feedback from people who saw it. Personally, I have always thought that NB shoes go really well with clothes, especially with ones from EG.
- You said that being made in America is another big charm of the brand. Why is that?
- There are only few U.S. companies left that produce American-made products these days. For me, NB is one of the American manufacturers who owns their own factories in America, while many firms in the same industry move their production bases to overseas. They still produce selected products there despite a smaller scale than the past. As a fan from the 1970s, I simply find it appealing and outstanding that the brand can maintain the original production system up until today.
- Please tell us a story behind your design for this collaboration.
- I believe that the best part of New Balance shoes is its simple and modest design that matches well with any clothes. So, my design was started from the idea to add some EG touches to the design while retaining the original charm of the item. These sneakers are made by combining five different materials (leather) per part because mix-and-matching materials is one of the things EG always does. I placed the leather at random on each foot. Since the colors I used are all in a similar tone, you can hardly see the design detail from a distance. I do love such a very subtle and slight design approach because it’s so EG.
To be honest, I wanted to remove all the logos including the “N”s on the sides. Because NB said it was not possible, I asked them to make the logos as discreet as possible instead. Such a monochromatic “Tone on Tone” style is one of the signatures of EG.
- Please tell us more about your asymmetric design concept.
- I’m not sure when it began, but mix-and-match styles and asymmetric designs have always attracted me. Such sophisticated imbalances have been crucial also for EG. Since some time ago, I have often bought two pairs of the same shoes in two different colors to wear an odd-colored pair. Only just slightly asymmetric designs are my favorite. For me, such hard-to-detect features seem more playful and creative.
- What do you think about the fit and design of 990v5?
- The 990 series is designed differently from other ones such as the 1300 series, and I’ve been a fan of the sharper toes. Regarding the fit, NB is one of the best about it. I think the fit of my pair is just perfect, too. Having been checking their shoe designs for years, I always feel odd when seeing new one, but then come to like it after a short time. Such genius designs cannot be made without the skills and talents of the brand’s design team. I think EG’s exclusive pair could successfully add our own style to NB sneakers, while maintaining their excellent design balance. I hope everyone will enjoy it.
born in 1962 in Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture, is the representative of NEPENTHES AMERICA INC. and the designer of ENGINEERED GARMENTS.