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The latest New Balance collaboration is with the legendary Lost Art skate shop in Liverpool, England. It’s a trifecta of history and stories colliding as Lost Art is not just any old skate shop, and Liverpool, not just any old city. The founder of Lost Art is Dave Mackey, a lifelong and fatherly figure to both the local and entire UK skate scene. He is not only an amazing skateboarder himself, but also the perfect community driver since the role of a skate shop owner brings with it an ambassadorial community job and one that Mackey, as he’s more commonly known, excelled in.
To give some context to Liverpool, it is a city steeped in its own community, the sense of solidarity and togetherness lives throughout the city in droves. From a fanatical following of football, dominated by the 80s success of Liverpool FC, through to the collective sharing of grief during some challenging times. Historically Liverpool has seen more than its fair share of economic downturns and there’s a good reason the city’s adopted anthem of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ will always apply. It’s a deeply traditional working-class city, and out of this, solidarity was born that strongly lives throughout many of the cities ranging communities.
The skate scene is no different, it was always produced tough do-or-die skateboarders with a bond to the city where they learnt their craft. Geoff Rowley is probably one of the first that springs to mind, but even Geoff himself would give it up to Mackey. His speed and application were simply unreal, in a 90s era when not every trick was documented on video, word of mouth was just as powerful and the stories reverberated all around the UK. In latter days, Charlie Birch could also be talked about in this same vein, brought up through the Lost Art system, it's akin to local lads making it into the Liverpool first team. Charlie's connection to New Balance was made early on and more recently he's evolved to be part of the Palace Skateboards squad.
Lost Art has now grown from the days of Mackey solely being behind the counter of the shop, although still going strong as a store, it’s a collective of friends running the various departments of the brand. From its use of a famous crocodile, or the amazing Scouse Girl graphic on Lost Art clothing, to celebrating the new faces coming into the local scene. It’s as much about tomorrow as it was about yesterday and with all this tradition to pull from it could easily be overwhelming to tell a footwear collaboration story from all three entities. But read on as we break down the detailed story to the new New Balance x Lost Art shoe.
Based on the NM22, which is an entirely new silhouette taking inspiration from football terrace style and aptly named the 22, given the number of players on a pitch. Its main colour comes from the sandstone of the Liver Building, the Cunard Building, the Port Authority and the Mersey Tunnel entrance, all situated in close proximity to each other linked by a precinct that’s been skated for over thirty years. Mackey excitedly pointed out that the Smith grind, done by Charlie Birch and heading up the ad creative, is way harder than it looks, is the entrance to one of those buildings and an NBD after all those years. Similar to the buildings in 2021, once the shoe is skated in, it further mimics these iconic buildings, which has seen heavy traffic pollution over the years and now discoloured and dirty in places. The copper and teal coloured accents of the shoe’s outsole and heel tab were inspired by something more famous than the actual buildings, it’s what sits atop of the Liver Building - the Liver birds. These are forever a symbol of Liverpool and the emblem of the historic local football club, which has given them worldwide recognition.
More details are the gold lettering, also taken from the building’s signage and two X’s stitched into the left frontal area of each shoe. Teal to further represent the Liver birds colour, but purposely put in such a place to quickly wear out, giving the look that used to be synonymous with skateboarders - worn-out shoes. In addition, they also marked the 20th anniversary of Lost Art, but unfortunately, a certain virus of late put paid to an earlier release. Mackey added that the detail was too good to lose so they stuck with it.
Additional details to the story are found throughout the launch material. The video clip with an intro shot by drone through the inspired buildings and featuring Tom Knox and Charlie Birch soon gives way to the Liverpool skaters of tomorrow and acts as a celebration of the cities local scene and next generation of talent. And, as you can hear in the accompanying music track, created by local producer Moon, their voices echo through, the unmistakable accent giving them character and charm. Given the clean and paired-down nature of the NM22 silhouette, the collab has been thought through to an exceptional level of detail with every aspect having a meaning and an explainable story. In a world of, at times, meaningless footwear collaborations this is top drawer material that perfectly aligns Lost Art the store, Liverpool the city and New Balance as the enabler in bringing it all to life.
The New Balance NM22 x Lost Art is available now.
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