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11 Feb 2008

Industry News

Limited Edt - Singapore

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On the eve of Limited Edt's fifth anniversary, we were lucky to catch up with General Manager Mandeep to get the dirt on their extra luscious new collaboration with New Balance, the state of Singapore’s sneaker scene and why other countries need to watch their back as Limited Edt go from strength to strength in the fledging sneaker retail market.

Hey Mandeep, tell us about yourself?
Sure, I’m 31 now and sorry gals I recently got married. I have always been around sneakers being born into a family run sporting goods business which has spanned 3 generations. Together with my love for sports you can say that I am truly blessed to be doing what I do.

We know a little about Limited Edt. You have four locations, so tell us how your stores work and in particular, explain the concept of the Vault for those that haven’t heard about it?
Our first store Limited Edt is in a mall called Queensway which is famous for sneakers and sports merchandise. This remains our most busy store which stocks the most products. Then we also have a skate store in the same mall. The Vault Store is the most high end and stocks the most limited product. It is located in the heart of the most famous Shopping district in Singapore called Orchard Road. In keeping with the name of the store, there is an actual mock “Bank Vault” inside the store which is an archive of rare and sought after sneakers. Entry into this “Bank Vault” is by appointment only and we regularly change the displays in there. The last store acts more like our outlet store and is a great place to find some older models.

And how is the scene progressing over there? What’s everyone rockin’ right now?
The scene has grown so much and so fast in the last few years to the point that even if it can maintain at current levels in the near future, it will be great. Right now many kids here seem partial to Vans and Converse maybe because of the whole skinny jeans look. But these trends always move in cycles don’t they.

Congratulations on the announcement of your collaboration, it’s a grand way to mark the fifth anniversary of your opening. How have things changed since you opened?
Thank you, it is a great honour for us and its something we always wanted to do. When we opened in early 2003, we honestly didn’t know where this would take us and the whole aim was to bring in products that otherwise would not grace our shores. So the main change is now that we are very established, we get access to top tier stuff from all the big brands. Other changes include us having to deal with a much more educated crowd and us having to put more effort to get them excited.

Limited Edt is the first store in Singapore to be graced with a collaboration shoe. Why do you think it has taken so long for shoe companies to recognize Singapore as a haven for sneaker heads?
Good Question and I wonder why myself. I think it is mainly to do with our small market size. However I don’t think the companies should ignore us any longer as not only do we have a fledgling sneaker scene here but are the standard bearers for the whole Southeast Asian region. Also I feel Singapore will only grow in importance as a global and exciting city. We see our growth in tandem with the exciting things happening in Singapore. With the nightlife, music, arts, sports and entertainment scene looking very bright with events like the first ever night street circuit Formula 1 Race this year and developments like 2 mega casino/integrated resorts and a state of the art Sports hub/stadium all being built within 2 to 3 years time, the future looks bright.

The design encompasses many facets of the Limited Edt store, from the rich burgundy and gold interior to the iconic Vault. It seems no details were spared. Can you tell us how this all came together?
As you mentioned we simply used the Vault store as the inspiration for the shoe. We chose the 577 silhouette and wanted to keep it simple, classy and understated. So besides using the colours represented by our store, we chose a full premium leather upper rather than a concoction of different materials on one shoe, as has been the recent trend. To give the shoe a bit of our identity we added some touches like 2 sets of “Vault” lace locks, one in gold and a silver version. We also have an insole print which was designed by Moritz Kofler who hails from Germany and mimics the “Bank Vault” handles of the store. This same graphic is used for the box.

Let’s talk in detail about the packaging. The case itself is almost more of a talking point than the shoe itself! It seems you guys think outside the box. (Pun intended!)
Yeah, while the shoe was kept simple we decided to be very unique and extravagant with the packaging. The box is also totally inspired by the store. Firstly the hard metallic silver finish represents the “Vault door”. The velvet inner lining of the box matches the velvet walls that adorn our store. Lastly the combination lock is a play on the fact that you do not have easy access to the “Vault” and reminds you that you are purchasing something very exclusive. The combination for each box will match the serial number of each shoe.

How important for you was it that the shoes were ‘Made in England'?
With our first colab we did not want a mass produced shoe and the “Made in England” range was perfect for this. We also like the attention to detail, workmanship and comfort of the range. Most importantly the ‘Made in England” range was the only range of New Balance we carried in the early days of the store and it always did well for us. So essentially it was going back to our roots.

New Balance seems to be the quiet achiever with some of the colabs. Why do you think stores are favouring them more so than the obvious choices for colabs?
Agreed, New Balance has been coming out with some gems without milking it in terms of distribution with the Solebox and Stussy/Hectic/Undefeated colabs coming to mind. The best part is they have been very varied with colab designs coming from all over including of Asia, Australia, US and Europe. As to why stores chose to work with them I would put it down to simple reasons like them being very easy to work with and being very receptive to ideas and the sneaker culture in general.

Has working with the brand altered your appreciation for the design process of shoes?
Most definitely, although this shoe was always meant to be simple and so was not very difficult, it can be a very tiresome process of going back and forth on what can and cannot be done especially so for more complicated designs we have come out with in the past.

And has this given you a taste to collaborate beyond footwear?
Yes we have many diverse plans for the future but sneakers are our first love and it is what we are good at so we still want to concentrate on sneaker projects for the future.

And finally, what’s the deal if we want to get pair?
There are only 140 pairs produced so majority will be sold locally within our stores. However New Balance is currently finalising a few of their top accounts worldwide to carry a size run of the shoe. So far countries we may see this include Japan, USA, Australia and neighbour countries like Thailand and Malaysia.

Check out more images of the New Balance x Limited Edt shoe here

11 Feb 2008

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