Last week I was fortunate enough to pass through the New Balance Olympic space at Altitude 360, SW1, offering an amazing 360° view of London.
I was guided through the space by New Balance Global Retail Creative Director Bob Neville, who went in to great detail on how it had been conceived and created. Normally the 29th Floor of Millbank Tower is a bland and boring business floor, just like any other (apart from the odd filming of The Apprentice). But during the Olympics it was transformed into a celebration of the 30th anniversary of New Balance’s Flimby factory.
A 40 year old gym floor from Scotland had been transported and installed along with a complete transformation of walls, ceilings and furniture converting it into an innovative community minded environment for clients, customers, media and athletes to relax and enjoy the olympics, steeped in New Balance heritage.
The furniture in the space was also part of an on-going project between New Balance and Kingston University created by recycling and re-using the left over materials from shoes. (read more about that HERE)
New Balance are also supporting The Cottage Project, a micro-department store in New Cross Gate, South East London, launching in Autumn 2012 consisting of cafe, exhibition and shop space. (More info HERE)
Oh and did I mention the 360° view of London..
We caught up with Kara Messina of Y’Oh during the Olympics as she was a part of the miadidas customisation crew which were putting together some creations live at their specially designed space in East London. Kara took on an adiPower boxing boot in celebration of sisterhood and for the first time at the Olympics women entering the boxing ring.
Being at the Olympic lounge with adidas, you’ve been fortunate to meet some great athletes, what inspired you most about 2012?
Olympic athletes in general fascinate me. I guess the Olympics allow you a closer look at athletes in the sense you can really appreciate that they not only challenge themselves physically but also mentally and emotionally. The 2012 Olympics has been very moving to watch. I’m also inspired by the faith and perseverance to challenge anyone who has come before them. Each games we have new heroes, world records and historic moments.
You’ve become famed for your pattern work on your first release and that’s crossed over to the shoe you’ve created with adidas, can you tell us a bit about it?
adidas approached me to design a shoe for the adidas Originals Consortium range. They chose 10 creative people from the Olympic city to tell a story of their city through their shoe. My work as a whole is a representation of my experience of London, including the use of African print. I wanted to push the boundaries with my print placement, for this reason it’s on the laces, stripes side AND the tongue. I thought if I am going to make a shoe with a print on it I might as well be full on. adidas were very encouraging to me to be as bold as possible with it.
During the Olympics you’ve been working on customisations and unique creations. What’s this been like? Have you thought about doing anything wild, couture runway style just to push the boundaries which couldn’t be worn on the street?
Totally not wearable! I have approached the project as an opportunity to make art pieces. Miniature structures or concepts for ideas, as opposed to wearable trainers. I’ve accepted a while ago that I’m quiet a practical / wearable designer. I like doing stuff that serves a purpose, but nonetheless it has been great in challenging me to work with different materials and tools (plastic tubing, rubber, drills). Plus the other customisers and the production team have been amazing to work with. It’s definitely been an all round memorable experience.
Y’OH goes from strength to strength, certainly a few biters out there, who’ve replicated and ripped off your style, do you take that as a compliment or makes you more hungry to switch it up?
It’s definitely a compliment. I have only been around a year and people are watching what I’m doing. That’s dope. I have no fears that they can emulate what I do because streetwear is more than the product. It extends to the brand as a whole. I want Y’OH to develop slowly over time not be different each “season”. It’s not solely about the designs or what print you use, but the context in which you present it. Say with the African fabric I used. That was authentic, bought from proper African shops. The whole point was to show people how great the fabric in its true form is, to change their perspective on it. The way in which I presented it allowed people to connect it too. I will always be switching things up, not to out do anyone else but more so to out do myself. I’ve got ideas for days don’t you worry.
We’ve got a great range of jackets from you in your first season, we’ve seen the introduction of Y’OH sportswear with a range of tees, what’s next?
I’m actually much more subtle in my own personal style so I want to reflect that in my work. I guess it might be surprising that I’m planning on doing something very simple. The concept behind the design is what makes it distinctive as opposed to the garments themselves.
As discussion surrounding the Olympics often centres in the next generation, who should we be looking out for who’s on the come up?
To be truthful I have been that preoccupied these passed few months that I have missed anyone coming up in music, fashion and art. I have no idea “what’s hot”. In terms of design I anticipate an eventual change in how the fashion industry runs it’s seasons. Also the emergence of the online store has the potential to give designers more creative freedom. All of that stuff even though it sounds very “business” could have a positive impact on design. It could be more immediate and less saturated.
The best thing about the Olympics has been the sport. The byproduct of many negative aspects is witnessing people at their peak, achieving the maddest of things.
I’m not sold on flag waving, torch relays round the country. I buy those baton exchanges that take place on the track. That dude that wins the Tour de France and then kills a time-trial across our streets.
Someone told me when Sydney had their Winter Olympics it was a Two week party. A two week party in east London sounds big.
We invited some of our favorite, local, musical dons to Beats Shoreditch to find out what made them tick, what their goals are and how they motivate themselves to keep chasing them. There was a party to be had too!
Thanks to our guests for passing through – we had a wave.
Check out how it went down last Wednesday Night…
Big thanks to all those involved. Those who passed through. Shouts to motive.
Unloading my memory card from my last few outings..
Highlighting the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Dream Team, Nike commissions Stalley for their Make A Statement advert with commentary from David Robinson, Sir Charles and Scottie Pippen.
To commemorate the Olympics in London the good folks over at B – side have produced this special tee. The t’shirt is part of their big up Britain campaign which will come to a end with a huge gathering in the summer to coincide with the Olympics. The t’shirt is available now on the B – side website HERE
Yesterday at Crystal Palace, a place we used to travel to as kids, I watched someone I’ve known for a decade destroy a field composed of the worlds best.
Bought up in East London, Perri Shakes-Drayton is probably the athlete born and raised closest to the Olympic Stadium; our club Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets AC, based at Mile End is definitely the closest amateur club.
Growing up in East London is tough, so it’s no surprise Perri is a winner, as those that just try don’t last very long.
Last night, Perri shaved 0.41sec off her personal best. That is HUGE.
Click on the image below to see how she tore the field apart.
I can’t wait to see my girl in action at the Olympics!!!
Adidas coming strong like a king size snicker bar on the latest Consortium releases. I personally
would have liked to see a little more color in this drop, but I’m sure they got a few more releases on the consortium line up their sleeve for this year.
“When Adidas brought back their consortium range last year, the slate was wiped clean giving a fresh start to the premium range. Back for 2012 with the next collection, Adidas invited nine creative partners to fill in the canvas. Concentrating on the 2012 London Olympics the partners were asked to take inspiration from their own Olympic memories from the past and translate that on to various models. From a London photographer’s poolside inspired ZX500, to a Sydney fashion designer’s track and field take on the Matchplay the ‘Your Story’ Consortium line is as diverse as the cultures engaged in the Olympics itself.“
Available over at Foot Patrol soon.
J. Thomson x Adidas Matchplay
Muro x Adidas Pro Shell
Loving bntl like a fat kid loves cake.