They are not your average dad shoes
In the remote coastal town of Flimby, Cumbria, factory workers are busy creating a fashion collection you probably wouldn't expect would come from somewhere surrounded by fields and sheep: the latest New Balance x Aries collaboration
Producing the Made in England 991 shoe since 1982, Flimby has been home to the iconic New Balance trainer for nearly forty decades. Taking the dad shoe to rule all dad shoes and injecting it with the playful nature of Aries’ design, the silhouette is getting a fun upgrade. “Everything has been done with this shoe, so it was a challenge,” Sofia Prantera, Aries co-founder tells Dazed.
Establishing the female streetwear brand in 2010, alongside Fergus Purcell, Aries first teamed up with New Balance in 2018 and has also collaborated with the likes of artist Jeremy Deller, creating a Stonehenge-inspired collection.
Two interpretations of the trainer have been dropped for this collaboration, using metallic, silver, fluorescent, and reflective materials to create a neon green and a white trainer. Featuring pearlised leather, fluorescent mesh, and a bright yellow suede, the collection also has an array of unisex pieces.
Also up for offer are t-shirts, sweatshirts and sweatpants, and socks. Coming in black and grey, the sweatsuit is embossed with the brands’ logos, which have been styled together to create a unique new design.
The t-shirts and socks are detailed with the word ‘Unbalanced’, which Prantera chose as “it seemed to fit perfectly as an Aries graphic, but also as a slogan to promote inclusivity and unpredictability, and the way sportswear is evolving as the new uniform for every day.”
Coming up with the term whilst designing the collaboration, which was two years in the making, Prantera explains this collection is about process and learning, conquering your fears and embracing failure. “Unbalanced seemed like the perfect name to describe it,” she says.
Wanting to create a shoe which would push the boundaries but still work within the manufacturer’s constraints, the shoe “mimics the hi-tech silhouettes of the 90s and the futuristic technology of the past,” the Italian designer says.
New Balance’s EU creative design manager, Mark Godfrey, wrote on Instagram that this was the brand's “most ambitious and progressive collaboration to date.” “Aries pushed our domestic capabilities to the limit with their creativity and highly detailed approach to design,” he said. "We’re extremely proud of this one.”
The collection will be available online and selected shops from October 29th.