New Balance “Liberty, Justice & Freedom”
In early 2011, I started a new journey and began to develop what now is The Boylston Trading Company. Fresh off the success of the New Balance x Concepts project (The Kennedy 999), my relationship with NB was in a great place. The office is near by and the lifestyle product team and I had become close over the few years of working together. It was a no brainer and took little discussion to agree another collaboration was appropriate.
As always, the first convo is “what shoe and why?”.
NB was looking to re-intro the 1600, which was popular in Japan, into the states with a special project. I had no issue with that. Good shoe, nice shape and great panel placement for me to get busy on. It was a plus that no one used the shoe in any other colab situations.
I went to work and the “Liberty, Justice & Freedom” 3-shoe project was born. “Liberty & Justice” was to have a normal distribution situation with the “Freedom” slated to be released as a Friends & Family only shoe. The release date was tentatively set for around Independence Day. This design process was smoother and more refined than any other project I’ve ever done with the NB team (or any other company) moving like a well-oiled machine. Amazing selections of leathers and suede were presented to me and I chose incredible materials. Straight butter. My design incorporated a star emboss motif (my favorite feature!) that was executed near flawless on the first round of samples.
Now this is when things took a turn. In November 2011, the unfortunate news was broken to me that due to some misunderstandings and Boston retail politics, arguably my best project to date had to be cancelled. Relationships, other’s insecurities and red tape became the death of an amazing, well thought out and beautifully executed project.
Believe me I was fucking mad and extremely disappointed.
I don’t work to cancel out the next man’s progress and do not plan my projects to clash with retailers in my city or beyond. I work to grow and if my growth makes others uncomfortable, so be it. To me this was a travesty and a total cop out and no matter how hard I argued, pleaded and clarified – nothing could be done and no one could help (some tried and others…).
Either way, I love this project and feel like everything I’ve learned leading up to that point went into this design. I feel it’s my best project to date and wanted to make sure I shared what could have been.
All good though, the world doesn’t stop spinning and it’s BAU.
Peep the project, hope you enjoy and thanks for the continued support.
Look out for my next best shoe dropping soon.
Frank “The Butcher” Rivera
Photos: Billy Fischer / OWRD
The incredibly talented Tasha Bleu shot me on the corner of Boylston & Arlington street for the Hypebeast Streetsnap series.
Amazing photographer and great spirit. Check her work HERE.
Wearing the BTC x Danner ‘Mountain Light’ Gore-Tex boot that is coming Fall 2012
All clothing available via Boylston Trading Company
Put this piece together with the homie Action Bronson for BTC.
“Boylston Trading Co sits with Queens rapper Action Bronson to discuss his wardrobe as a youth, fashion likes, dislikes and what happened when he met American style royalty Ralph Lauren.”
Action Bronson is clearly a gifted lyricist, ex career chef and a curator of fine facial hair – but Bronson has a passion for fashion.
I directed a piece for Boylston Trading Co called ‘Action on Fashion’ that will premier next week.
I grew up 50 miles west of metro Boston in a city called Worcester, MA. Just to clarify, Worcester is not a suburb of Boston in the literal proximity sense, or in the “green grass & white picket fence” sense of the word. My hometown was the stereotypical urban experience that would either sharpen your sword and harden your armor – or break you down if it got the best of you.
Elementary school is when I began to take notice to what the older guys in my neighborhood were wearing. They became the bar and were clearly influenced by hip-hop culture, which was the native language of my 4-block radius. Inner city Boston was notoriously known for their loyalty to the trefoil and that radiated up the Mass Pike through friends, family or visits to the nearest “big” city.
The swoosh’s stronghold wasn’t fully developed yet and it was a common occurrence when an older brother or cousin would try to deter you (sometimes with threats and intimidation) away from anything that didn’t bear 3 diagonal stripes secured to its sides. My first memories of A-Dogs (a Boston term for adidas way back) were the obvious Superstar popularity of the early and mid-80s. As much as I appreciated the shell toe it really didn’t move me – I wore them but was one step outside of the age group that really wore them.
Like any northeastern city, there was a hustling and drug dealing culture that fueled the neighborhood’s fashion sense. Dealers were decked in the latest and greatest regardless of the price tag. The one shoe that was introduced to me as a direct result of this illegal fashion show was the adidas Forum, a basketball shoe that was applied to a street life uniform even when worn hanging out at the schoolyard courts.
One day, around 1990-91 (estimated – hard to know at this point) I noticed some hustlers wearing what seemed to be high Forums that were a tonal navy blue with a “crest” embroidery on the ankle and tongue. A small detail that might have went otherwise unnoticed by most people – but to me they epitomized hood luxury at an unheard of hundred some odd dollars at retail. I was instantly infatuated with the shoe, mostly for what this shoe represented – elevated status.
adidas Originals Forum “Crest” HI are avialble 12/3 on BoylstonTradingCo.com
Welcome to the Boylston Trading Company. We are a premium men’s retailer, based in Boston and represented online, with editorial support. Boylston is named for the street we are on, and trading represents the shop. And also, more importantly, the “trading”of ideas. You might ask, “What makes you different than the pack?” – I believe the answer is: the people behind BTC.
I’ve have never worked with a team that is more dedicated, passionate and focused on doing the right thing than my present crew. “Doing the right thing” seems kind of vague; so let me explain it a bit.
Time is a valuable commodity that can’t be bought back when lost. We’ve all heard the old adage ‘time is money’ and it is in most cases accurate. What we at Boylston Trading Co. don’t buy into is the cutting of valuable corners. Corners are what define our shape—without these definitive angles, we become shapeless and run of the mill. My team will continue to invest time into doing things the right way. That’s what makes us different and what will help us maintain our form.
When we buy, time is invested in choosing the appropriate pieces and finding the right brands. When we shoot, we make sure the quality of our photo assets is well above par. When we create layouts, we make sure to communicate what’s important. When we collaborate, well, you know the deal.
Simply put, Boylston Trading Co. will showcase what and who we believe in. Whether it’s a new or a trusted brand, a talented photographer or a great designer – known or unknown – if there is a proper level of integrity to the work and we as a team feel it, it’s a go.
All in all, we hope that we can fill a void in retail with something fresh, interesting and exciting. This is day one of that journey.
Special thanks to Jei, Billy, Evan and Jessup for the non stop work ethic that has paid off.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know what you think.
Enough of the yapping— let’s get to it. HERE.
Frank “The Butcher” Rivera
Boylston Trading Company