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Having such a personal connection to New York, Sandy Liang often channels the city through every design. And with her third collaborative collection alongside Vans, the designer thought it fitting to present each offering just blocks away from her Lower East Side storefront.
Together, the two craft a love letter to “grandma fashion, sport femme, nostalgia, and humor,” all coalescing atop the footwear brand’s many classics. The Sk8-Hi, both in its standard and Platform 2.0 variant, explores a child-like femininity, either accenting its collars with lace skirts or its canvas with floral embroideries. The latter motifs also appear elsewhere, imparting a youthful, playful feel to both solid and patterned shoes alike. The neutral-lathed Authentic, in contrast, opts for doodles one would find in a grade school notebook, its upper bright with smiling butterflies. As for the Half Cab, the pair leans on lush green sherpa and subtle flower-shaped eyelets.
In other news, have you seen the new Air Force 1 PLT.AF.ORM?
Sandy Liang x Vans Collection
Release Date: January 28th, 2022
Make sure to follow @kicksfinder for live tweets during the release date.
Where to Buy
The Caves Called – Vibram x Roa Hiking Answered
Model: Andreas and Katharina
Release Date: Available now
Buy: Online at Roa Hiking
Editor’s Notes: If your brand of wearing Arc’teryx is TikTok shenanigans involving fully-clothed showers or pouring bottles of champagne over yourself in clubs, finishing the look with a pair of terrain-ready kicks may not be priority number one – but who knows?
Trips up the peaks, around the lakes, or anything in-between, call for a sturdy set of footwear, a pair that’ll offer all-around weather protection, support, and responsiveness.
Such elements can be sought and found from Arc and Salomon, even HOKA depending on the terrain of choice, but a perfecting pairing that’ll leave you doubt-free is Roa Hiking (clues in the name) and Vibram.
Vibram are, of course, leaders in the world of high-performance rubber soles and the bread to Roa’s butter. The two have come together to offer a cohort of footwear that are equipped to tackle mountains and be styled to city life – a gorp win-win.
With the CAVE capsule collection, the timeless Andreas is dressed up in brown suede or Cordura nylon, while the newly designed Katharina takes on the same fabrications in brown and green, respectively.
Both come fitted with the best-in-class Vibram Megagrip sole, which will keep you firmly planted on wet peaks, and that battered concrete you’re still waiting for the local council to fix. Figures.
To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, check out the best sneakers to add to your rotation this week, follow @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter for early access to the best drops sent straight to your inbox.
Awake NY x Lacoste Is Angelo Baque’s Dream Come True
Awake NY founder Angelo Baque sees collaborations as a communal effort, a unfication of likeminded creative peers. Collaborations aren’t merely two brands coming together to drop a product, that’s for sure.
And, considering the cultural clout that a guy like Baque commands, he could likely have his pick of the collaborative litter, so to speak.
But he prefers to patiently pick out opportunities that align with his personal taste, lifestyle, and ideology; intent is everything.
“Growing up in New York, Lacoste was an aspirational brand,” Baque explained to Highsnobiety. “I’ve been a fan since I was a kid – I remember seeing the polo and tracksuits in music videos, watching hip-hop artists and my own friends adopt them and incorporate it into their own style. I grew up with Lacoste.
“I have tremendous respect for Louise and the work she’s done with Lacoste. She’s immensely talented.”
The resulting collection is a hybridization of Baque’s retro-leaning aesthetic and Trotter’s worldly design sense, incorporating both iconic Lacoste items (the polo, the post-workout sweater) and fresh pieces (an updated harrington-style jacket) into a fresh spin on preppy heritage.
“As a brand, we represent youth culture, not just here in New York, but globally,” Baque continued. “With this partnership, I wanted to bring that youthful energy into each of the pieces. The pieces are all wearable and can be mixed and matched across the collection.”
“Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions, we didn’t get to work together as closely as we both would have liked, but Louise helped make the process seamless nonetheless.”
This collection, deceivingly simple in nature, is the result of literal years of effort. It took untold time not only to design the garments but to scour the archives, to find the right fabric weight, to produce the items in Lacoste’s native France.
“We began conversations with Lacoste prior to the pandemic, so the original plan was for myself and our head designer to fly to Paris, meet with the Lacoste team there and go through the archives,” said Baque.
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“Like the rest of the world, we had to pivot in early 2020, so much of the creative work took place via Zoom and from the comfort of our respective homes,” Baque recalled. “Although the process wasn’t ideal, we’re still very proud of what we were able to create in partnership with Lacoste.”
Though there’s plenty to like throughout the range — especially the slouchy, colorful sweatpants — one piece stands out above others for Baque.
“For me, it’s the polo. It’s a status symbol, and a symbol of achievement. To now be able to work with the Lacoste team and put our touch on it, that’s something that I never would have thought I’d do,”
“It was always a dream to work on something that’s iconic and steeped in history,” finished Baque. “The opportunity to work on a polo and put our brand name on it, that’s a bucket list item.”
Innersect 2021 Was a Journey Beyond the Hype Machine
As the curtains closed on the latest edition of Innersect, it became abundantly clear that the cultural landscape is changing. As we’ve come to expect from East Asia’s largest street culture event, the three-day fair united visionaries from the worlds of fashion, art, music, and tech to celebrate the bigger picture and paint a vision of the future. This year was no exception.
Despite Shanghai’s Covid restrictions dictating a reduced crowd (the annual event usually pulls upwards of 60,000 visitors), eyes around the globe remained peeled, no small part in thanks to Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo, who was tapped this year as the fair’s first co-curator. As one of the culture’s most in-demand names, he brought in a number of industry pioneers from his close circle of family and friends to create “Neighborhood” — a fair-exclusive exhibition comprising creative work that responds to an over-arching theme of “Balance.” Take a peek inside via the video below.
One clear result of this thematic exploration was that the presentation of product (particularly within a retail-focused fair) is no longer just about commerce. Balance was found within a wider perspective, a holistic take on culture today, where it’s heading next, and how that influences consumer habits. Take Angelo Baque’s Awake NY presentation, for example. Rather than setting up a typical product space, the New York creative used the opportunity to launch something entirely different — The Awake Record Shop, connecting consumers with beats that provide the brand’s pulse.
As Baque told Highsnobiety: “[I wanted] to curate our sounds, what inspires Awake? What is the music that we’re into? I want [Innersect visitors] to discover these records that help to inspire what it is that I do. I want to create experience. There’s going to be some faux record shop merchandise, cool stuff that I would like to get from my favorite record shop, growing up. I want it to be a moment in time, like you go to Innersect, and you [get] that one T-shirt from the record shop that doesn’t exist.”
Elsewhere, Sabukaru Online — the Tokyo-based publication dedicated to burrowing down niche rabbit holes within subcultures — teamed up with Innersect to present a curated exhibition dedicated to platforming the “next generation of players in the functional fashion realm.” The space was called “Section 31026” and featured 10 of the most exciting brands operating within the space today and will be integral to the next chapter in menswear.
And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention the unveiling of Fear of God’s Athletics collaboration with adidas, which is set to drop later this year. The first-look moment was a headline-hitter, with many publications noting the history lesson behind the design. “The adidas logo used in the new collaborative badge was featured by the performance house from 1950 to 1971,” Lorenzo explained, “arguably its most dominant and defining era.”
Now, as streetwear itself enters its own dominant and defining era, redressing both mainstream and luxury fashion as we know it, retail experiences such as these speak to a changing of tides. The aforementioned labels are spearheading an adaptation that is set to happen en mass in both the East and the West — an adaptation that will require all brands to cut through the noise and offer experiences that are truly unique and have authentic meaning in order to keep afloat.
“Feeding the hype machine is no longer enough,” Adela Tan, Asia Pacific vice president, and managing director at William-Dickie, told Business of Fashion. “Consumers are looking for purpose in their consumption.”
For Innersect brand director David Tang, the notion of purpose is intrinsically tied with value. In conversation with Highsnobiety earlier today, he echoed Tan’s sentiment when explaining that this year his team “found that the ‘Hype Engine’ is cooling down. [Rather, today] people are looking for something that’s sustainable, something that offers better quality and textures so they [can] wear it for the next couple of years.”
That value pivot will continue to elevate the Innersect experience, Tang tells us. In the coming years, we can expect to see more premium curated experiences that are synonymous with the “contemporary youth-culture movement [and go one] step further to riding the waves of the creative economy.” Watch this space.
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