Farran Golding of Speedway Mag dives into the story behind New Balance Numeric’s first footwear collaboration with Black Sheep Skate Store (of Manchester, England) and Black Sheep Skate Shop (of Charlotte, North Carolina). Check a snippet of the interview below, here’s the full-length version.
It is often professed that as skateboarders we see the world in a different way. Whether dressed up as 'unlocking the potential of architecture overlooked to the general public' or more a simple lifelong desire for the perfect knee-height ledge; the world is your concrete playground. A skateboard allows us to travel to new cities, and even countries, easily connecting with other skateboarders along the way.
With this in mind, I find it difficult to consider how two independent businesses approximately 3,685 miles apart who share nothing but a name and love for skateboarding could be bound by anything else.
Last week saw the launch of the 'Black Sheep vs Black Sheep' New Balance Numeric 598 and 998. Flocking together, Black Sheep Skate Store (of Manchester) and Black Sheep Skate Shop (of Charlotte, North Carolina) have created a first for NB# and skateboarding footwear as a whole. —Farran Golding
When did you first learn that there was another Black Sheep in North Carolina?
It must be four or five years ago, I guess. People used to phone up and ask for things and we're like, "This is the wrong Black Sheep." I suppose it happened vice versa.
I was stoked. We messaged them at some point early on and always meant to do something before now with shop t-shirts or something; we do one of theirs, they do one of ours or whatever. We had spoke before but never got around to it so it was good that this time we got to do this.
How knowledgable are you of the other Black Sheep and its scene?
We spoke to Josh Frazier through email and follow all their videos. We see that they're completely on it and that's one of the reasons why Seb Palmer did this shoe because they're equally as productive and functional as a skate shop in every way; through the scene, being progressive and creative. I think that's one thing Seb pointed out from the beginning. That coincidentally Black Sheep, in America, are very proactive socially and online, as are we. It made sense for him as the first New Balance collaboration because we are both pretty productive in all aspects of the shop.
How far back does your relationship with New Balance Numeric go and what were your initial thoughts when they entered skateboarding?
We did it from the beginning, we've done every season and backed it from day one. The way Seb Palmer pitched it was that it's about the shoe and quality first and foremost. Its USP is that it is about quality. It feels like, "Oh right, you aren't mass marketing shoes to then rip off designs and put it on the high street. You're making things of a high standard." Skateboarders want the best stuff. If you're really into something you want the best there is to help you do what you do in a certain way.
There are two shop riders, Eddie Belvedere and Seb Batty, that both get shoes from New Balance too. The plan was to send a rider from Manchester to North Carolina and vice versa. But with the legendary Manchester weather getting in the way of things during late November it would have been pretty useless for anyone from NC to come skate Manchester.
In the end, Seb (Batty) flew over for a week to film with the NC guys. He tweaked his ankle pretty badly on the last few days but I think he racked up enough footage to make a rad edit of his time over there. He might be stressing about filming for his part in Isaac Wilkinson's video when he gets back but from what I have heard and seen he has more footage than most so it should be all good.
Click over to Speedway Mag to read the full interview.