Now That's a Tasty Collab: Stone Island x New Balance
Yeah, Yeah... I'm late to report on this announcement. I'm not a news blog! Who cares, because there's going to be a Stone Island x New Balance Collab! Damn, that's a power couple that I'm here for.
High quality garments, experimental dying processes and a pairing that focuses on function over form. Both Brands embody everything that I love in fashion at the moment. Stone Island has been in my life waaaay before its explosion in The States in 2016 (Thanks Drake), and their shoe line is lacklustre. I like to believe their shoe line is non-existent all together, helps me sleep at night. Doesn't matter though, because New Balance offers the perfect 'balance' between the craftsmanship of Stoney and the iconic silhouettes present in the sneaker game.
New Balance are the kings of comfort and have built a reputation around quality, as their 990's are Made in the USA and 991's in UK, amongst many more lines. Stone Island has dropped the ball recently, being bought out in 2017 and moving a lot of their production out of Italy and into Vietnam. Now there's nothing inherently bad with that, but my snobby brain-cells get agitated knowing their cheaping out on their manufacturing process and underpaying their staff for producing luxury goods.
(Honestly, next time you go shopping, look at the Stone Island 'essential' pieces, the basic sweatshirts are made in Vietnam, slightly more complex pieces made in Bulgaria and Taiwan, with their latest seasons gimmick i.e. dust wash pellets, being kept in the main factory in Italy.)
Now at the moment (March 23rd) the public don't know which silhouette the collab will use. So you know what that means?
Wild Speculation Time!!!
It's no doubt the NB 990 one of the most iconic shoes in fashion. Their perfect in their own right. Their mix of suede, mesh and Encap sole is an ideal recipe. There's not much Stone Island can add. If anything, I don't want them to add a thing! Maybe garment dye the suede? But that'll be awful for shoes... Can you imagine seeing the colour run off your shoes in the rain.
If the collab wants to use this silhouette I'll still be excited, but its a huge missed opportunity, as it'll simply be a re-colour and won't add any of the Stoney essence that the potential suggests.
The New Balance 327. The Intelligent Choice. Literally, it's written on the tongue.
This is a silhouette that's jumped into the spotlight in 2020, capturing 3 collabs by Casablanca (2 edited into this mash-up). Yeah, yeah, it's made in China, so is everything... Not great, but it gives both Brands the ability to throw some experimental ideas at the wall, and seeing what sticks! Hell, I managed to pick up the 'undyed' pair last year, it features hemp laces, undyed suede and cork insoles. The whole shoe is eco-friendly and uses unconventional materials. I'd love to see the SI x NB collab follow along those lines. Stoney can bring in its signature focus on materials, whilst NB supplies a shoe that isn't as near and dear to peoples hearts.
If were on the lines of good NB collabs recently, then Aime Leon Dore's resurrection of the 550 is definitely worthy if a mention! A great retro looking shoe with enough panels to work with in unique ways. I'd love to see the foundations of this silhouette developed into something unique by Stone Island, I just don't think they've got the motivation to use this style. Wouldn't surprise me if they used it though, the hype is there.
There's always the possibility of the cop-out option. I hate to drag his name through the mud, but the Junya Watanabe NB's do nothing for me. They're probably made incredibly well, their interesting in their own right, but not exciting. Plus, just throw a chunky Logo on the heel so you know this isn't a generic colourway. Yeah, Nah. This is the last thing I want to see on a
SI x NB collab.
I'd be happy to never see a compass on a pair of shoes, I'm sleeping pretty well without it currently, and the risk of it happening might put me on edge. But, this collab presents a great amount of potential! And I'd just love to see it work out well.
Let's see? There's plenty of other shoes anyway.