On January 14th, 2009, members of A.R.C. were invited to the New Balance factory in Skowhegan, Maine (USA) to experience firsthand the production of the A.R.C. x New Balance 1300 sneakers. Freshness was presented with the exclusive privilege of capturing the days activities, getting an inside look at how both of these brands operate. The New Balance factory in Skowhegan is one of three located in Maine and one of six N.B. factories in the United States. Nearly a quarter of all New Balance shoes
made in the United States are produced at the Skowhegan location and after our brief visit we think we know why. The Skowhegan factory houses the famed New Balance “Super Team 33” which consists of the best 28 workers and 5 craftsmen, hence “33”, some of whom have been with the company for over 26 years. Super Team 33 is the crew that produced each and every pair of the A.R.C. x New Balance 1300, along with a few pairs that the A.R.C. team helped produced.
Interview with Treis Hill of A.R.C.
What meetings or discussions led to the A.R.C. x New Balance 1300 pack project?
A New Balance A.R.C project has been under way for about 3 years now, there was an A.R.C New Balance shoe scheduled to release from us but it wasn’t meant to be. We continued to work with New Balance and finally were able to put something together. New Balance shared the same sentiment as ourselves; to produce well designed, quality Footwear. We weren’t aiming to have a line in front of the store or tell the public there are only 25 pairs. We wanted to develop great looking sneakers and nothing more.
How did the A.R.C. team decide upon the 1300 model?
The 1300 overall is a staff favorite, it is a style that has not really be over exposed or co-branded by other shops. We wanted to bring to the market a New Balance Collection that was representative to us and what we feel the people would be into. These 1300’s are clean and wearable and that’s was our mission to develop shoes that were worn and not resold or traded but actually worn.
What types of freedoms or restrictions were in place regarding color and material choice?
We had free range, the sky was the limit. But we kept it clean and simple, we wanted to stay true to the New Balance heritage, the color (teal) is atypical for New Balance US, however the color blocking and materials are true to what New Balance stands for. New Balance represents athleticism and sports, our focus was to maintain that message. New balance maintains a policy of not allowing brands to utilize there corporate logos on the New Balance Sneakers, however we were able to execute our distinct tie-striped pattern which we utilize on all of our SMU shoes.
Describe your interaction with New Balance’s famed “Super Team 33.”
We’ve carried the Super Team 33 Collection in our store from it’s inception, they’ve done some exciting projects and we look forward to all other projects from them in the future.
While visiting the New Balance site in Maine, did you make any comparisons or note contrasts between A.R.C. as a brand and N.B. ?
New Balance exude, product, quality, sport and perfection all aspects we strive to achieve daily at A.R.C.
Streetwear is truly an international culture yet this project is strictly an American collaboration. What was it like staying stateside for this project and does it affect your design approach?
Streetwear is truly an international culture, however we don’t view our brand or this project as streetwear, all of our co-branded products are done with companies who have experience in producing quality, functional sportswear. Our mission from the beginning was to bring awareness to New Balance USA. For so long New Balance fans in Europe and Asia have been able to enjoy amazing projects while those of us here in the States were forced to go great links to get our hands on sought after New Balance sneakers. Our goal was to reverse that trend. It’s our first project with New Balance and it won’t be our last.
Discuss the craftsmanship involved in the production of the A.R.C. x N.B. 1300
It’s truly amazing to be able to see a shoe developed right in front of you, but even more impressive to see that happen here in the U.S. There aren’t too many products manufactured on American soil any more and it’s truly a privilege to be able to see the excitement and passion that when into these shoes. Special Thank You to the entire New Balance Super Team 33 Production Team! And we can’t forget Gee, Piet and Joe, Thank You!! //
While the rest of the building create much of the Made in the USA NB sneakers, the fifth floor of the Skowhegan, Maine factory, which houses Super Team 33, the most premium New Balance projects are produced from cutting to packaging. Super Team 33 is a collective of the best 28 workers and 5 craftsmen in the New Balance US factory with the longest career at 26 years. The above pictorial takes a look at the production line which handcrafted each and every pair of the A.R.C. x New Balance 1300 collection.
While the rest of the building creates much of the “Made in the USA” NB sneakers, the fifth floor of the Skowhegan factory, houses Super Team 33 and produces the most premium New Balance projects.From production to cutting and packaging, Super Team 33 is a collective of the best 28 workers and 5 craftsmen in the New Balance US workforce with the longest career at 26 years on the job. The above video takes a look at the production line which handcrafted each and every pair of the A.R.C. x New Balance 1300 collection.