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Having received a glimpse of the special release at the start of December, Hong Kong-based creative Eric Kot presents a further look at his upcoming New Balance H574. Created in conjunction with the North American footwear label to benefit 4A (Asia Acts Against AIDS), the rugged mid-top take on the iconic 574 was inspired by Kot’s love for cycling and the necessity of added ankle protection. Donning a bright orange nubuck upper alongside contrasting black and white accents throughout, the collaboration comes finished with a gum rubber traction outsole. Due for a release this very month, the Eric Kot x 4A Like Black x New Balance H574 will appear in a general release edition for $1,099 HKD (approximately $142 USD) while a Christmas version with 4A Like Black branding patches will retail for $1,399 HKD (approximately $181 USD).
Let’s talk about the latest collaboration with NB! Why did you use orange as the H574′s main color?
The first pair of NB 1400′s I bought back in ’96/’97 were orange. At that time I was travelling back and forth to Japan as part of Wong Kar Wai’s work filming “First Love the Litter on the Breeze”, and it was there that I saw them. I thought they looked good and were really comfortable, so I bought a few pairs in one go. So after that, I wore them for quite a few years and they eventually became my personal trademark and started a trend. My fans started wearing the same shoes as me too. After that in 2004, NB became interested in opening flagship stores in Hong Kong and wanted to invite me to do a collaboration, so I have collaborated with them to release the 576 as my brand name product.
To be honest, I’ve been wanting to release the 1400 again, so starting in 2006, NB would secretly make me some prototypes every year and they’ve already made over 20 pairs in the last few years, but haven’t found a reason to put them into production. I was really into cycling up until last year, and realized that I needed a pair of shoes with a high closure to protect my ankles. So, I inquired about the possibility of improving the 1400. Unfortunately, the company turned it down so I decided in the end to recreate the feeling of the 1400s by pairing orange with the H574s for that year.
Other than the color, what special features does this pair of H574s have?
I’ve made small adjustments to different parts of the shoe and made personal choices such as with the buttons and materials. Other than that, I’ve spent over a year to make different protypes and spent no small effort to ensure each part matches my vision. I believe the most important thing for this model was the selection of the fabric, so I spent a lot of time researching this aspect.
Seeing as your brand 4A like Black stands for “Asia Act Against Aids” and that December 1st is World AIDS Day, was this pair specially designed for that day?
No, it’s only a coincidence. Because I only had time to work out the finer details of this project after wrapping up my concert. Although I fully support any activities having to do with AIDS-prevention, this (release) was purely based on the timing.
After having done so many, what’s your view on ‘collaboration’?
I think it’s very boring and very difficult to find a partner to collaborate with that I’m really interested in. I expect my collaborative methods to be reciprocal, as in when I give you some ideas, I hope the other party can give me something at the same time. If the other party just listens to me, it’s kind of boring, but that doesn’t mean I only collaborate with friends. On the contrary, friendship can sometimes become a bit of an obstacle between us in that it limits possibilities that could have some ‘spark’.
Photography: Sunny Lau (WHATASUNNYDAY) for HYPEBEAST