Why did you choose ‘The Elements’ as the theme to your collection for ST33?

Being an Asian Inspired collection, we wanted to adopt a theme that is a good representation of Asian values and philosophies.

How do you see the collection as relating to the Asia/Pacific region? To me, this is a difficult region to find one theme to fit all the countries its encompasses?

Its is true that one of the most amazing character of Asia Pacific is the wide spectrum of cultures and traditions. However, the founding philosophies of "The Elements" transcends across all countries in Asia, there might be localized nuances but the principles are the same. It is also very unique in the sense that the philosophies are applied to almost all facets of daily life and are still very relevant even today.

For example, besides directly representing the different elements, namely Fire, Metal, Wood, Earth and Water, each of them serves as metaphors to represent interaction between things and how they relate to each other, this is applied to traditional Chinese medicine, martial arts, military strategy, cooking and even music.

The interaction of the 5 different elements consist of 2 cycles, Generation and Destruction, the continual quest for balance between the elements. The cycles represent the definitive goal in life, a state of balance, or Zen. 

How long did the design process take?

The process from conceptualizing to actual shoe production took 9 months.

How do you see the consumer within your region as different to other parts of the world, lets say, America or Europe?

With globalization and the power of the internet, the consumer profiles across countries are starting to become more similar. However, what is apparent is that with the ease of gaining information, there is now a greater understanding and appreciation of the various cultures around the world. "The Elements" collection is a great example as the design concept is essentially very rooted as a philosophy from Asia but theories behind it is readily accepted and even practiced in almost every part of the world.

Tell me about each shoe and what inspired each in coming up with the final product?

There are 3 shoes in this collection,

"Earth and Wood" – inspiration stemmed from mother nature. It pays tribute to our planet, the colors and texture used are associated with these 2 elements, the shoe is in varying shades of brown and tan with hues of green. The upper has leather treated to look like a tree bark and there is a tree design embossed in the instep. There is also a clever use of cock material for the "N" logo and insert for this shoe. This shoe comes with 2 sets of laces, a set of green and another in brown. The Left shoe has the Chinese character "Wood" stitched on the heel tab, whereas on the Right shoe, its the character for Earth.

"Fire and Metal" – features a highly striking use of black, red and silver colors, again, these colors are closely associated with these 2 elements. On the instep of the shoe, there is a laser-etched phoenix rising from the
flames, the character on the heel tab of the Left shoe is Fire, and of the Right shoe it is Metal. The outsole uses red to signify fire with a black "smoke" effect, this coupled with the daring silver midsole, completes the overall look of the shoe.

"Water" – the element of water has a shoe by itself, signifying the power of water and its ability to douse fire and cut through earth, wood and metal. However, the shoe is designed with the Zen-like serenity and tranquil qualities of the element. The upper uses white and blue, with the blue leather carrying slight shades of white, representing ripples and bubbles. There is a Chinese junk etched into the instep of the shoe and the character for Water is stitched onto the right heel tab. The midsole has a beautiful graduating use of blue and the outsole uses transparent rubber with prints of water bubbles.

Your chance to win…

New Balance ST33 ‘The Element’s Collection will be released on the 20th of October at the following stores

US/CANADA  Alife (NYC), Shoe Gallery (South Beach), The 400 (Denver), Sportie LA (LA), P.E.G (Dallas), Tannery (Boston), Shoe Biz (San Francisco), Capital 1524 (Seattle), The Vault (Toronto), La Godasse (Montreal), El Kartel (Vancouver)

EUROPE  Hanon, Size Carnaby St, Offspring Neal St (UK), Solebox, Tate (Germany), Sneakers’n’Stuff (Sweden), Wallace (Denmark), Vintage 55, Gente, ANO TBC (Italy), Trust Nobody (Spain), Lijfstijl (Holland)

JAPAN  Mita, Atmos, United Arrows, Oshmans, Urban Research, Darjeeling Days

ASIA PACIFIC  D-Mop (Hong Kong) Limited Edition Vault (Singapore), S.H Owin (Taipei)

LATIN AMERICA  Zoo (Chile) 

But we’re giving you a chance to win a pair here at Slam X Hype, simply email your answer to the following question, along with your name, shoe size and address to info@slamxhype.com 

Name the 5 elements that inspire the Asia Pacific ST33 collection? 

The winner of the competition will have their name announced here on Slam X Hype on the 20th October.