We caught up with Alexander-John (Desiger) and Andre’ Wright Jr. (Brand Architect) who are the creators of the New Balance CM580 “NBEEZY.” Shedding some light on the 580 that has a Yeezy inspired colorway. Both break down the process and collaboration of this personal project. Read on and take a look at the images above for the full details. (All photos provided by Alexander-John and Andre’ Wright Jr.)
Can you introduce yourself for the people who don’t know you?
AJ: I am Alexander-John Designer/ Creative Director/ Founder of The KLR WHALES BRAND, Sneaker Artist and Footwear Designer.
AW: Hello world. My name is Andre’ Wright Jr. I am a photographer/ Brand Architect from COLOR OF LIFE Branding.
How did this project come about?
AJ: After Launching a restoration project called the Air Force Pigeon 3′s I was contacted by Andre Wright Jr. who was ecstatic about the work and wanted to talk about possibly collaborating. Shortly after talking we ended up linking in NY at the New Balance Store to discuss concepts and to shoot what was then my latest project, the Michael Angelo Asics.
AW: It started by me reaching out to Alexander-John early spring 2013 after spotting the pigeon AFIII’s on his Instagram. After that we had email talks that lead to phone calls then us finally meeting up in NYC. After we shared our love for New Balances and reseached we decided to create a concept sneaker that has not been done yet. The NBEEZY 580 was created.
Why did you choose the materials you did?
AJ: In all honesty there are no added materials to this design. I chose to keep it that way so that we could take the concept further in the event that the response was overwhelming… and it was lol.
AW: Alexander will answer this question.
Can you explain your process/ concept?
AJ: As a Artist I always have to go with my gut and being responsible for designing the South Beach 999 and how huge the response was I figured a Yeezy New Balance would shake the running world up a bit. I took a look at the model and scaled it out based on the Yeezy 2 concept. I hand dyed the suede, Air brushed a custom the solar red on the lining, Then I hand engraved and burned the scales into the side of the heel and finished that part in matte black. The mid-sole was then coated in a custom day glow green.
AW: Alexander will answer this question.
Why did you partner with Aglit Italy on the laces?
AJ: In a world where the word custom and luxury are being overused and abused, I wanted to separate this pair and myself from the rest and not just claim luxury but to actually give my clients just that. So I reached out to them and got a reply from Vaitari Anderson and he put everything into play and even setup the shoot with GMD studios. I have a portfolio of projects that will come with Aglit Italy laces included.
How did the artwork from JDLoza come about?
AJ: A quick conversation with Andre will always yield fast results. JDLoza is a good friend of his and after I saw his work I was completely sold!
AW: JDLOZA is a Great Graphic artist. We go way back to college days at Brooks Institute Of Photography. I use him for all my graphic work so having him on the team was right. Its not about the project Its about having the right team to take it to the hole and dunk it.
How was it working with each other?
AJ: Andre is a mover and a creative strategist, it was a blessed experience. He has a get it done attitude and the patience of a sharp shooter! We are both Libras so it was actually in a lot of ways like working with another me! lol.
AW: Working with Mr. Alexander John was a blessing. He is a brother from another mother. I love working with other MJ’s of there craft so when we come together we kill everything. But over all we real dudes. We both are husbands and fathers so time management was a big pro-cess to learn being from different area codes. He taught me a lot about the sneaker industry and how to be a perfectionist in it. We are built under the same rules and standards. “DETAIL is key” to anything we do. It was faith & passion that we connected though. We never wanted anything from each other but to create magic for the world to love. We are blessed.
Do you wear New Balance sneakers? If so what are you favorite?
AJ: Yes I do my favorite model is the 999! Comfort at it’s best!
AW: I love New Balances. My favorites are the NBEEZY 580, FingerCroxx MT580, Burn Rubber MT580 Blue Collar, Ronnie Fieg Blue Steel 999, Burn Rubber 577 Joe Lewis and Mita x SBTG x NB MRT580 just to name a few but there is plenty more.
Can we expect more New Balance customs from you?
AJ: Ha! That’s like asking James Bond will he kill again! You can count on it!
AW: Far as creating more heat and history to be made. Yes we are working on the next collaboration now. Going to be epic for photographers.
Any last thoughts or comments on New Balance you want to leave us with?
AJ: Yes, Tell New Balance that Alexander-John said… You are welcome.
AW: Be passionate. “Brands are not only about an experience with a product or service; they’re about an experience with the people bringing the brand to life.” To keep it correct lol. Everyone had this incorrect. It’s the CM580 New Balance not the MT580. We choose this style because it’s a OG new balance. Very rare. A lot of customizers done NB 999’s NB 574 NB 998 so we had to reintroduce the OG style. Plus I was so in love with that sole.