UPDATE: Don't forget the Laced x Le Coq Sportif 'Banana Benders' are dropping tomorrow morning!
There’s only one thing Queenslanders love more than a banana and that’s being known as a ‘banana bender!’ It’s a strange nickname, but there you have it. Le Coq Sportif approached Laced, Brisbane’s street wear kings, to wave their magic wand over the Zenith trainer, and the crew responded by wrapping everything in rich maroon suede with hits of greyness and optical white mesh. A grenadine cockerel stands guard on the midfoot, while a flash of ‘pool green’ is a nod to the OG Zenith from 1988. Embroidered Laced branding and the big banana flying solo on the heel add the finishing touches to this mighty mellow yellow tribute. We caught up with Phil from Laced to chat about the ripe new colab.
So tell us about Laced. This is your first colab, you must be frothing.
Yeah we’re stoked! It’s our 9th year this year and we’re just happy to still be around and to be able to do cool stuff like this. We’re a small independent boutique that specialises in limited sneakers, streetwear, toys, collectibles and lifestyle goods based out of Brisbane, Australia.
We've seen a lot of the Eclat and Flash the last couple of years, but you’ve gone for the Zenith. What do you like about the shoe?
The Zenith is one of our all time faves from Le Coq. The shape is dope and they look great on foot. You couldn’t get the shoe for years, so when they put it back on the burner we jumped on board straight away. We reckon it’s super underrated so we wanted to give it some shine.
What came first – the colourway or the concept?
The colourway came first; but I kinda had the concept in mind. Maroon is Queensland’s colour, the footbed shows the Brisbane River and where our shop is and the banana was actually one of the last pieces in the puzzle. The brighter colours on the shoe are a nod to the 1980s era the Zenith came out of. The concept is really an introduction to Laced and where we’re from. It’s our introduction to the world. We love sneakers. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we like to have fun with it!
Can you explain what a banana-bender is? Despite the popular nickname, Queensland farmers don't manually bend their bananas. Bananas are negatively geotropic, meaning they grow away from the pull of gravity, dropping down initially then gradually turning upwards, hence the bend. Considering this pull of gravity notion more metaphorically; what else, other than this dope colab, is Laced doing differently from the rest of the street wear industry this year?
A 'Banana Bender' is a Queenslander! It’s an old nickname given to us by our interstate neighbours from Sydney and Melbourne. It’s kinda like a joke about our general laid-back attitude here in Queensland. We’re pretty chilled. The saying goes that, 'Queenslanders have nothing better to do than sit around putting the bend in bananas.' We’ve got a lot of bananas up here. Queensland farmers are responsible for something like 90% of all Australia’s bananas.
This year we’re reinventing our line-up. We can’t give too much away, but right now we’re working on our new website, so look out for that. We’re also paying more attention to our own brand. Oh, and more special projects like this one!
Women often miss out on collaborations, as smaller sizes are frequently ignored. You've stocked up on dainty sizes of the Banana Benders though, was this because you've noticed a demand from women for retro runners at Laced?
Yeah we wanted to show some love to the female sneaker freakers, for real. It seems every colab they get skipped and miss out and we have to deal with the complaints. [Laughs] Just jokes. But seriously, now’s your chance, ladies! Girls love bananas, right?
I've heard rumours, yes. Any final words?
There’s only 666 pairs of the Banana Benders, so make sure you get yours March 28th! Get some Banana Benders up ya!
- Originally Published March 10th, 2015