UBIQ has graced the tree-lined streets of Philadelphia since 2002. A few years back the crew released their first New Balance collaboration, paying respect to their home town’s rich history with the ‘Benjamin’ NB1600. The story-telling narrative continues with the store’s second NB colab, dubbed ‘St Edward’s Crown’. UBIQ brand manager Paul Lee invited SF into his kingdom for the scoop on this regal colab.
St Edward’s Crown? As in the ‘Crown of England’?
I’ve always had an interest in medieval times, when kings and queens would wear crowns as obvious statement pieces. They represented royalty and power. For those of us in sneaker culture, we consider the most impressive sneakers to be ‘grails’. They are a way to flaunt status and opulence – a ‘crown’ in all of its meanings. The current version of St Edward’s crown was the main inspiration. It was made for the coronation of King Charles II, who was influential in the founding of Philadelphia. He also gave William Penn a large piece of his acquired American land and then from there, Penn founded Philly – that’s the connection. It’s such a fascinating piece of history. I’m all about storytelling and creating things that represent inspiring events.
So you’re bit of a history buff?
I’m definitely not a history guru, but I do enjoy it a lot. I love envisioning past historical events – it’s fun to me. History was probably one of the few subjects I actually paid attention to when I was at school. History defines who we are and why we exist. Being able to tell a story through this project was definitely a highlight.
This is not only your second collaboration with New Balance, but also your second time tackling the 1600. What’s the attraction to the model?
The first New Balance 1600 colab happened in 2013 with the Benjamin. I had a lot of fun with that project. It was so well received that I wanted to come back with a follow up. In general, we’ve done well with the silhouette, so why fix something that’s not broken? That was the idea. This time around I wanted to focus even more on the materials, to showcase something even more premium than the first.
The suede is definitely top shelf.
It took several tries to achieve the shoe I had imagined, but the team over at New Balance were really great. They worked their magic and the end result is flawless. We found the perfect suede, leather and gold details to work together. The leather is definitely a huge call out as it was an idea that New Balance suggested. We pitched the idea of using premium-distressed leather in our initial conversations and what they sourced was impeccable. That’s the beauty of working with a brand that understands your vision and ideas.
What’s next for UBIQ?
There are lots of things we are working on – including colabs, new brands, products and expansions. Some things are already in motion and some are just ideas being further developed. Times have changed in the market but we’re going to continue to try different things and, most of all, have fun!
The UBIQ x New Balance 1600 English Crown releases at online and at the UBIQ Walnut store on September 10.