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First of all, a very Happy New Year to all who read my blog! I hope 2015 was a great year for you all, and I wish you and your families all the best for 2016! Secondly, I haven't had much of a chance to post regularly on my blog over the last couple of months, mainly due to the amount I've been working, but I wanted to do a post where I rounded up all of the highlights in 2015 for myself.
In January of 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple events, one of which was a special preview of the New Balance 1500 x Footpatrol "Encyclopaedia", which was held at Library on St. Martin's Lane in London. The event was attended by a small number of people, mainly press and loyal customers, and we were treated to a personal Q+A with some of the New Balance team, as well as an insight into the Footpatrol shoe, while being able to indulge in some fine food and drink. Shouts to all who were behind the event!
The second event, which coincidentally enough took part on the same day, was for the launch of the New Balance C-Series. The event was held at the Tokyo Bike store in London, with over 300 people attending for a night filled with beer, food, great company, and a chance to check out the collection in person.
My girlfriend is a little bit obsessive with travelling, and although we don't get to do much because of work and other commitments, we do try, and we decided to visit Iceland in March. Our time spent in Reykjavik and surrounding areas was beyond excellent, and we can't wait to plan our next trip there!
There's one pair of New Balance that I've came to love, and is one of my absolute all time favourites - the 1300JP. The 28th of March was to see the release of the 1300JP2, 5 years after the 2010 release of the 1300JP, so this definitely warrants a place in my highlights. My only regret is that I wish I grabbed a second pair!
I've grown up watching American TV shows, American sport, playing games like GTA, and just obsessing over all things America, so one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to do is go and visit, and so we hit up New York City in April, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I wrote a two part blog post (part one and part two) about our time spent there, but I'll definitely be back in the very near future!
Over the last couple of years, I've became great friends with the guys behind the UK's best and original sneaker event; Crepe City. The 25th of April saw their 13th edition of Crepe City, and of course, they absolutely smashed it. Shout out to those guys!
Towards the end of 2014, I had heard rumours that New Balance would be sponsoring Celtic FC for the forthcoming season, so naturally, when my favourite brand are rumoured to sponsor the football team I support, I get a little excited. Anyway, fast forward a few months down the line and I'm sat at Celtic Park for the official New Balance kit launch!
Emma and myself made it a point of trying to get out and explore as much as possible during summer, but we live in Scotland right, so we don't get much of a summer. Anyway, we managed to check out a couple of castles, Crathes Castle being one of them...
And Castle Fraser being another...
One of my fondest memories from childhood was Saturdays spent climbing Bennachie with my family, or with my school friends, and it had literally been years since I'd went for a wander up that way.
The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, myself and Rob headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for absolutely nailing the event, and great to see old and new faces!
It had been long overdue, but finally, on the 1st of August 2015, Scotland had it's first ever sneaker festival - Solebloc, held in Glasgow, and it was an absolute banger. The event itself was held at the excellent SWG3, a warehouse in Glasgow's West End, and was the best setting for the event.
We created our first ever NB Gallery Showcase at Solebloc with over 250+ pairs of New Balance on display!
I got my hands on some never-before-seen New Balance x hanon shop samples!
After what felt like a pretty hectic couple of months, myself and Emma took a little jaunt off to Italy for 10 days or so, and we visited some pretty sweet places along the way.
First up, Rome!
From Rome, we took a de-tour via Naples to visit Pompeii and it's ruins.
Heading back to Rome from Pompeii later that night, the next morning we packed up and jumped on a train to the lovely city of Pisa.
Pisa was an absolute dream, but our time was up, and it was off to Florence we went.
However, we both fell in love with Rome, so before we left, we had to re-visit that amazing city! If you ever get the chance to go to Rome, do NOT pass it up.
From the tourist filled cities of Italy, to the tranquil lochs of Scotland with a bothy fit for the Queen, Loch Muick was a great escape for a day!
Trying to fit in as much as possible before the dark nights truly set in, and we'd no longer be able to explore and take the dog on some adventures on the week nights, we headed north up the coast to Collieston.
Now this is one trip that I had wanted to do for a while, and just could never get the time to do it. Sadly Emma couldn't make it along, but we'll be making a point of heading back this year or next now that Aberdeen fly direct to Warsaw. Anyway, it was great to head to Warsaw and catch up with my great friends Arek, Maciek, and Radek, along with everyone else I met. Huge thanks for the hospitality!
Conveniently, my trip coincided with Warsaw’s edition of Sneakerness, and it was definitely the perfect event to pop my Sneakerness cherry, and a big shout out to all the great people who worked tirelessly to pull off the third Sneakerness in Warsaw, as well as the absolutely wild night out!
One last castle before the year ends? It's only right! And New Slains Castle was the perfect one to end the year on!
Apparently, if you visit the Bullers of Buchan at a certain time during the year, you can spot some Puffins nesting. Sadly, no puffins for us, just empty hidden rock beaches and miles of coastline.
It had felt like an absolute age since the last hanon shop collaboration, I was certainly struggling to remember when I was last at an in-store release for one at the time of writing the post for this shoe, but anyway, the "Spirit of '83" was a massive success, and rightly so.
The 14th instalment of Crepe City fell on Halloween and it was the most successful Crepe City yet, which included the launch of their first branded apparel and merchandise collection, as well as their inaugural magazine launch.
November and Year End
This might have been the most important month of the year for me, as I started working for hanon shop. Over the last year or so, I had already been doing bits and pieces for them, and helping out in-store at some of their releases, but I am now working for them officially.
My role involves photography and social media, as well as some other things, but basically the two main things I have been doing seriously for the last few years.
My first main project would be the Asics Gel-Lyte III x hanon shop "Lyte Night", where I was shot all the images for the press release.
The second project I shot the week after was the Le Coq Sportif LCS R1000 x hanon shop.
If you want to follow my work at hanon, be sure to check out @hanonshop on Instagram and Twitter.
Since November, I have been working full time for hanon shop, as well as my other job, and on top of that, doing NB Gallery and other bits, so I haven't had much time to myself which is why this blog has been neglected a little. I hope you can understand, and I promise I won't be so infrequent with the blog posts going forward!
Anyway, I am super excited about what's to come in 2016 and look forward to sharing it with you all!
With the end of 2015 fast approaching, and the 25th Anniversary of the Gel-Lyte III coming to an end with only two collaborations remaining, November 28th was to bring one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and probably hanon's biggest release to date. A long time in the making, and a long time waiting for the day to come around, the hanon x Asics Gel-Lyte III 'Solstice' (full details here) in-store launch was sure to be a crazy one!
With hanon being the only store in the UK to be stocking the shoe, and with the majority of the other stockists worldwide having in-store only launches also, the release of the 'Solstice' had attracted people from all corners of the country. The first campers arrived on Wednesday, and by Thursday, the camp was in full swing, with the lucky first 35 campers on-track to getting the Asics and hanon branded Mag-Lite.
Thankfully, except for a very cold Friday night, the weather held out for the campers, and on Saturday morning, there was over 200 people waiting in line for the doors to open at 10am.
10am came around, doors opened, and the queue started flowing, and by 2:30pm, the hanon x Asics Gel-Lyte III 'Solstice' was SOLD OUT! Although hanon didn't have as many pairs as they would have hoped, pretty much everyone who was in the queue managed to secure a pair and that's what matters!
A big shout to everyone who made the long or short journey to hanon for the shoe, the support is always hugely appreciated!
Hope to see everyone at the next launch which will be the hanon x Le Coq Sportif R1000 'French Jersey' on Thursday 3rd December 5-7PM in-store.
It's the one we've all been waiting for, right? Finally, November has came around and this means that it's hanon's turn to collaborate on the Asics Gel-Lyte III as part of the Gel-Lyte III's 25th Anniversary. For me personally, I haven't paid a great deal of attention to Asics over the last little while as my sights have been firmly set on New Balance, but when it comes to a hanon collaboration, I'm always intrigued, and after the success of the 'Wildcats', this shoe was sure to be a banger.
This shoe would be extra special though, as it was the first project that I would be involved in while working for hanon and a few very cold mornings and nights were spent trying to nail the press release shots for this collaboration.
But first, let's take a look at the story behind the shoe.
To commemorate this silver milestone, our edition of the GEL-LYTE III revisits the night sky and astronomical theme as depicted on earlier hanon x Asics projects, this time taking inspiration from the longest and shortest days of the year – commonly referred to as the Solstice.
Drawing inspiration from our northerly location in Scotland where the dark winter evenings are in stark contrast to the long summer nights, we looked to the ‘gloaming’ and enduring skies of the fairer months and have applied a luxurious blue azure suede and plush purple nubuck to the upper.
Depicting the shimmering lights of the sky we added a bespoke perforation to the vamp which includes a tonal 3M underlay as well as reflective Tiger Stripes and woven lace. When the shoe catches the light it illuminates, mirroring the ever changing hues during the evenings of the summer months. Further night-themed inspiration can be found on the blue frosted segments to the outsole whilst a plush printed celtic knot and flame pattern is applied to the collar lining – a light nod to our Scottish roots and the ancient Celtic association with the solstice.
Additional attention to detail on the hanon ‘Solstice can be seen by way of a dual branded tongue patch, printed footbed and embossed fire detail on each heel. Each pair will come complete with three lace sets and custom-made box.
Finally as a homage to our first GEL-LYTE III ‘Wildcats’ we included a similar colour blocking to the upper as well as the same execution on the reflective Tiger Stripes and tongue detail.
hanon x Asics Tiger GEL-LYTE III ‘Solstice’ will be released on Saturday November 28th 2015.
Available sizes: UK 4, 5, 6, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12
Available instore only.
Now that the formalities are out of the way, let's take a look at some of the shots.
The Onitsuka Tiger Colorado 85 is a bit of a weird one, personally, I'm a fan of this model, but it's had a mixed reaction whenever a collaboration has been released, and the general release pairs never done too well either. I guess Asics/Onitsuka Tiger expected this collaboration to be a winner after the success of the GLIII 'Wildcats', but when you introduce different models, the hype crew get confused and start wondering whether these at going to bring them the Instagram likes they so desire. You can be sure though that if this was a GLIII, captions of 'instant cop' would be reoccurring on social media. You hear a lot of the same shit, for example, when hanon shop collaborated on the Gel Epirus most recently, you get the whole, "well if this had been on a GLIII or a Saga or a GLV or blah blah blah I would have 'copped'..." Cool. Well, If Asics had got that Gel Epirus closer to the original shape then that would have at least made it more appealing, but that's a different story altogether.
Anyway, before I stray too far off the shoe at hand, the Onitsuka Tiger Colorado 85 'Wildcats II' is as the name describes, a second version of the 2011 release GLIII 'Wildcat', and is also hanon's second time working on a Colorado 85... The first time they worked on a remake of the GTII 'Northern LIItes'. I'm almost certain that when their GLIII for the 25th Anniversary releases, a Colorado 85 in that colourway will follow close behind.
Back in 2011, hanon shop released the Asics Gel Lyte III 'Wildcats', a shoe which pays homage to a local grass roots running club called 'The Wildcats', and is one of my personal favourite shoes in my collection, despite the loud colour way clashing with all the grey, black and navy I wear (boring, tell me about it). The shoe features a mustard yellow and burgundy upper, of lush suede and nubuck, with 3M tiger stripes for good measure. I don't wear these much, and to be honest I sold most of my GLIII's and other Asics when everyone was going mad for them, so this is only one of two GLIII's that I have left, but these will never leave me. I still wish I had kept some of the other pairs of the Wildcats that I had, so I could wear these a bit more, but hindsight is a wonderful thing, eh?
Anyway, I remember the release for these, well, not the whole queuing outside on Friday/Saturday release as I never went, but hanon had an event on the Thursday night prior to the release which involved good people, Japanese beer, and the chance to grab yourself a pair of the shoes before everyone else! I remember heading there with my friend Kev, it was quite quiet, mostly older guys, friends of the store and that, but still good vibes. I imagine it would be massively different if hanon put on an event like that now, who knows, maybe they'll do something in November when their take on the GLIII for its 25th Anniversary releases.
If there is, be sure to check back here for a full write up, there'll definitely be a write up of the instore release anyway!
Trainer events have taken the world by storm in recent years, and finally, August 2015 will see Scotland hosting it's very first event - SoleBloc. If you're into trainers, chances are you'll know about Hanon Shop, and on Saturday, August 1st 2015 they will be holding a lottery for three of their favourite collaborations at the SoleBloc trainer festival in Glasgow. They have announced that one pair from each of the following hanon collabs will be raffled with all proceeds being donated to CLAN Cancer Support in Aberdeen, Scotland:-
- Asics x hanon Gel III 'Wildcats'
- New Balance x hanon 1500CHF 'Chosen Few'
- Adidas x hanon Centaur 'Granite'
Each model is 100% deadstock from a small stash they kept aside from the initial launch. The winning pair from each collab will come with dust bag as per the original hanon store release.
The guidelines are as follows:-
- Tickets can only be bought in person at the SOLEBLOC event
- £1 (GBP) per ticket.
- Each ticket will apply to 1 model of shoe only - A list of sizes will be available at the event
- Unlimited tickets - Buy as many as you like!
- Entrants must provide their shoe size, email address and social media account on each purchased ticket
- Entrant must have a social media account
- Buying tickets on behalf of someone else is okay. Details must be provided as above.
- All proceeds will go to CLAN cancer support in Aberdeen
- Winner will be emailed and tagged via their social media account after the event
This is a pretty special gesture from the Hanon Shop team, so be sure to head to SoleBloc on the 1st of August and buy some raffle tickets!
The last Saturday of September saw the instore launch of the hanon shop x Onitsuka Tiger x Asics "Glover Pack", a joint collaboration which pays homage to Japanese and Scottish pivotal figure, Thomas Glover.
Both the Colorado 85, and Gel Epirus weren't very well received, despite hanon's continual excellent work on each and every collaboration they do, but the problem was more so with the models, rather than the colourways. It seems like every person wants to see the same silhouettes (GLIII, GLV) being used for EVERY collaboration, which I'm sure you can agree, it would get very boring if this was the case, so I welcome the working on other models.
Surprisingly, the turn out wasn't as large as the recent Reebok release, but as always, the locals were still out in force to support their local independent store, and many punters left with both the Onitsuka Tiger and the Asics.
The Onitsuka Tiger Colorado 85 is decked out in a black and golden yellow colourway in lux perforated suede, nubuck and synthetic overlays. The speckled lace-stay and screened in-sock, along with the embossed moustache on the back representing Thomas Glover's iconic moustache are all great touches.
The Asics Gel Epirus isn't the strongest model from Asics' arsenal but it looks great with the plush mix of mint green suede, with purple nubuck overlays, closed mesh vamp, red quilted collar lining and a superb screened tartan in-sock. Like the Colorado 85, the Epirus also has some embossing on the heel, but this comes in the form of a thistle, the inspiration of this colourway.
It certainly felt like the general consensus was that both shoes were much more appealing once you got a feel of them in the flesh, and tried them on to see how they look. The standout for the Gel Epirus being the lush tropical green and purple colourway, with the gum sole, and the Colorado 85's matching speckle laces to compliment the speckles on the upper.
Below are a few quick on-foot shots of both the Colorado 85, and the Gel Epirus; thanks to Adeel for being my brief instore on-foot model while he tried both pairs on.
Check out some shots below from some of those who were queuing on Saturday morning.