Product of New York x Leaders 1354

Product of New York (or Pony to you or I) are on the up once again and part of this is down to their uncanny ability to create unrivalled collaborations. Their Rothco capsule collaboration from last year was lauded and it looks like this one will be no different. Having come together with Chicago based lifestyle Store Leaders 1354 . The two have released a new version of the famed Slamdunk Silhouette, inspired by everything that Chicago embodies.

To launch the collaboration kicks, there was a Q&A with Leaders 1354 that discussed the intricacies of the design, history and the inspirations that lead to it’s inception…

The collection is called “Lead never follow”. Why is that?
Here at Leaders we live and work by the motto ‘Lead Never Follow’ whether it be fashion, art, music, community we try to exude that idea. Especially here in Chicago where we want to inspire the younger generations to be leaders and not followers. The idea is to change the status quo in a positive way and that’s what we’re looking to accomplish both everyday in and out of the store and with this particular collaboration with Pony.

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What would you say are the key highlights of the collection?
The quilting on the upper is a play on the unpredictable weather patterns that we as Chicagoans are forced to get used to, the red of the laces and the suede on the toe box is a nod to Chicago’s color way. The lace lock is a representation of the city’s famed four star flag, while the 1354 that runs along the heel is a tribute to our original address at 1354 E. 53rd in Hyde Park.

Why did you chose the Slamdunk silhouette as your canvas?
It’s a classic basketball model silhouette that reminded me of the guys in the 70s and 80s used to play ball in the park everyday. There’s nothing better than a classic and I believe we were able to bring the classic look appropriately into today with our collaboration.

What was the inspiration?
The main inspiration for the shoe was Chicago and all that it embodies. We live and work in a city widely known for broad shoulders, hard work and perseverance and the elements that we’ve built into this particular sneaker relate directly to those aspects the city. It’s sturdy, yet stylish, flashy but not over the top. I believe that we succeeded in capturing the essence of both Leaders and Chicago with this one.

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Tell us about the demographic that inspires Leaders1354.
We are inspired by all demographics, from young kids in high school and below to guys older than me. We’ve been able to create a community around our brand here and it’s one that fosters communication amongst generations. We may have Chance and kids his age in the store one day and then turn around and have Common come through the next so it’s a very all encompassing situation here that we think inspires both us and our customers.

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What can you say about reviving a heritage piece and making it relevant to the current sneaker scene?
A lot of kids claim they’re sneakerheads but only really wear Nike and Jordan. They aren’t all aware that Pony has been there from the start and is a major catalyst for the kind of styles and trends we see in footwear today. Playing on that, we tried to add elements that are popular in contemporary fashion to bring the shoe into a more distinctly 21st century look while maintaining certain aesthetics of the shoe’s past.

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