Sneakerness, Europe’s biggest sneaker trade show, is gearing up for their third Paris event. In celebration, they’ve teamed up with PUMA to release the ‘Paris Patriot’ pack; a premium duo of Blaze of Glory Socks. Sneakerness’s Francky Bendahan discusses the inspiration behind each colourway and his love of Paris.
How are things shaping up for Sneakerness Paris this year?
Things are looking great for our third anniversary. We’re super enthusiastic about the new venue; Cité de la mode et du Design. Visitors can expect a bunch of cool surprises and exclusive drops. We’ve teamed up with PUMA for two amazing colabs as well working with Alpha Industries on an MA-1 jacket and a matching pair of Happy Socks.
After tackling the Blaze of Glory in 2015, you’ve now worked on the model’s latest variant – the Blaze of Glory Sock. What’s the appeal of the BOG?
For me the BOG is one of the sexiest silhouettes PUMA has in their range. I know you agree with me because SF have also utilised the BOG on numerous occasions.
The main appeal of the BOG Sock is that it’s contemporary and very in the ‘essence du temps’ [essence of time]. The silhouette is a mix of different styles – it’s athletic, fashionable and unisex. The sneaker’s construction offered us the opportunity to play with colour blocking and materials in the best way we could! Also, we wanted to be the first to collaborate with PUMA on this shoe. I’m really thankful my good friend Yassine Saidi gave me this opportunity.
Paris has endured a turbulent time these past 12 months.
The last year my city has been the victim of some really terrible moments. As a Parisian, I wanted to pay tribute to my city through this collaboration. I was in Herzo (Puma HQ) to design those shoes the day after the Bataclan horror happened and it wouldn’t leave my mind. I live five minutes away from the place and I really felt touched and sad. I decided to show love and respect to our French flag by using the colour scheme. Even if some people would say that it’s too easy and maybe corny, I see it more as a sign of pride.
We hope that Paris never has to endure another incident as horrible as that. What is the story behind the other colourway?
Sneakerheads will see that we took inspiration from the famous Air Jordan 4 'UNDFTD'. The colour scheme has been referenced by a lot of designers recently, even Kanye used it on some Pablo items. For me, it was also part of the story I wanted to tell. Using olive green, black and orange combined with materials like nylon, ripstop and suede was my way to pay homage to the French soldiers that supported and protected our people during that hard time. In fact this is why I decided to name the colab the ‘Paris Patriot’ pack. Also, the release comes as we prepare for winter and I feel it’s a perfect colourway for the cold days!
It looks like there’s some pretty big material differences between the two make-ups.
Correct! Neoprene, tumbled leather, reflective 3M and some ribbed elastane for the 'French Flag' pair. Pig skin, mesh, suede, a gum sole and nylon – like the MA-1 bomber jacket – for the 'Army Green' one. For me, the biggest pleasure when we designed the sneakers was to play with the huge choice of materials PUMA offered.
Are there any special features on the shoes?
I also added few patches that can be changed and removed with different symbols. Some made of veg tan leather and some 3M. The box is blacked out with a massive Sneakerness logo on top. We wanted to keep it simple and classy.
How can we get our hands on a pair? Are they going to be as limited as your last colab?
Your only chance to get a pair of the Sneakerness Paris x PUMA Patriot Pack will be to attend the event. They are super limited edition and exclusively available during Sneakerness Paris. We’re only releasing 100 pairs of each colour for sale. Book your plane or train now and let your boss know that you’ll be in the French capital! Tell your friends and your girlfriend too – we’re going to have fun.
Sneakerness Paris runs September 10-11. Hit Sneakerness for all the details.