Waist To Toe, a collection launched by New Balance Japan based on the concept of pants that most beautifully complement NB shoes, is attracting attention.
In addition to the five styles of pants that seem to be very popular since they sell out each time they are released, the brand will roll out five styles of jackets this fall-winter season to give customers more choices as freer coordinates. The material used for them is SOLOTEX® of Teijin Frontier – the very same material as the capsule’s matching pants.
We interviewed Mr. Osumi, senior manager supervising the brand’s apparel, to hear the story about the daring reason for rolling out five styles of pants x five styles of jackets as well as the potential of SOLOTEX®.
New Balance’s apparel had existed in the form of Japan-licensed items, but since New Balance Japan launched the apparel business on a full scale in 2016, we had been seeking the ideal brand-specific apparel.
After considering several ideas, we decided to focus on bottoms in the beginning because we thought we should develop the collection essentially based on our shoes, the core products of New Balance. This led to the concept of “pants that most beautifully complement New Balance’s shoes” as well as the collection name “Waist To Toe.”
The idea we kept in mind when developing items specifically for the collection was to make sure they were loved by everyone regardless of age and sex by providing variations like our 996, a particularly popular New Balance sneaker model. Therefore, we decided to narrow the bottoms down to five styles that fit a wide range of people.
The members of our development team actually put on sample pants, exchanged opinions to adjust the silhouettes and lengths in millimeters, and finally decided on the styles that we currently offer. In particular, we were meticulous about the length to the ankles so that the pants would match the shoes. I think no major changes will be made in the silhouettes in the future even if a minor adjustment might as the times change.
We had rolled out pants in navy and olive made of nylon and polyurethane materials depending on the season, but in the course of production, we became convinced that this collection would definitely be accepted by users. So, we had the strong desire to use materials with greater originality. Exploring different fabrics, we decided to use the shape stable and stretchy SOLOTEX® that was excellent for tailored pants.
We released a limited quantity at first, but almost all the pants sold out in three days from the release, thereby enjoying considerably favorable responses. We heard that one customer purchased seven pants in the shop after trying on many in different colors and silhouettes.
Responses from customers and staff members are that “…the pants are good because they dry quickly without losing their shape even after they are wet with sweat or washed,” “…the pockets with a concealed zipper are convenient for storing small articles,” and “…the pants are comfortable for business travel.” I hear many users probably make a repeat purchase due to such impressions.
Though the pants match any of our shoes, we make some proposals as a brand, such as matching bulky shoes with wide pants. Because the colors used for the shoes and pants are typical of New Balance, I think they coordinate nicely with each other. In addition, we provide complementary socks with the Waist To Toe logo in a limited quantity as a novelty item, which has a good reputation as well. So, we are scheduled to sell the logo socks, too.
We wanted to evolve the tops in the same way as Waist To Toe, so we thought that they should be highly functional. Personally, I love to put on natural-fiber cut and sewn and heavy-weight cotton T-shirts, so I wanted to use a thicker material with a natural texture that would be fashionably excellent. We negotiated with Teijin Frontier (hereinafter referred to as “Teijin”) to provide us with SOLOTEX® exclusive to us.
Pursuing wear for urban residents that look nice both on and off duty, we designed it by exploring what might be unique to Tokyo while retaining the American image of New Balance.
We had wanted to create jackets since the very beginning of this project, but we went ahead with the release of the bottoms first in order to present the brand’s distinctive color. At the same time, however, we proceeded with the development of jackets, and the authentic single-breasted jacket made its long-awaited debut this spring–summer season. The jacket is designed for urban residents since we were particular about the details of the shape of the lapel, buttons, and silhouette despite the simple appearance.
For the fall-winter season of 2020, we will roll out the common sales launch for the five styles of jackets by adding a double short coat, Coach jacket, and Harrington jacket.
We thought that providing five styles of jackets to match five styles of pants in the Waist To Toe collection, which has gained support from a wide range of customers, would expand the range of coordinates, resulting in more customers enjoying our brand.
Since we are rolling out five styles of pants x jackets via United Arrows in September 2020, customers can try different coordinates in the shops. In addition, some ABC-Mart Grand Stage stores started selling the five styles of pants using SOLOTEX® in August 2020.
We would like to design more attractive items by developing high quality SOLOTEX® finely tuned for Waist To Toe in collaboration with Teijin in the future. For example, we want to create items with materials that combine the advantages of SOLOTEX® and natural fibers. At the same time, by adding fashionable elements while pursuing natural texture, we would like to increase items that appeal to women so that more customers enjoy the world of Waist To Toe.