New Balance On How Design Changes Around The World
There's a rather fascinating interview on sneaker culture blog Hypebeast with three New Balance product managers from Japan, USA and EMEA. They spend a lot of time describing the differences between consumer taste in different markets but what's interesting, for us anyway, is that while the teams recognize there are some big differences between markets, it doesn't really lead the company's direction – the designers still do.
Robert Ward Lifestyle Category Manager, EMEA: It's not necessarily something you notice or contrive on a daily basis but there is definitely a certain look and feel that comes from each of the regions. As far as the European stuff goes, I don't know if it's in the genes but in general the product that comes out of our division is seen as more tonal, maybe not as colorful as other regions. We tend to concentrate more on premium and quality materials and have a generally more conservative and sophisticated approach whereas Japan and the US will tend to be much more brighter, a lot more futuristic. But within each season, we let our designers' imagination just run riot and we don't narrow things down too much for them. Every season they'll pick out a few designs for the range providing it fits in together with the overall tone of what we're trying to do. A good example of that is the 576 Jacket Series.