You all would have seen it by now on our social media accounts and what not, but as part of the Flimby 35th Anniversary celebrations, we attended an event at Flimby which involved some very special collectors, and we're going to take you through exactly what went down!
We feel like you've probably heard it all before from us by now, but the next piece of text is very important, and does a pretty good job at explaining just a few of the reasons why we have such an attraction towards the brand;
"New Balance has been proud to manufacture athletic footwear in the United Kingdom for 35 years, and today remains one of the only global athletics brands to do so. Since 1982 the New Balance manufacturing facility in Flimby, Cumbria, has leveraged a rich heritage of shoe-making in the region, utilising the skill-set and experience of existing footwear specialists. The UK facility has also enabled European material sourcing, which over time has created a unique ‘Made in UK’ proposition for New Balance, in terms of style and materialisation, which is coveted worldwide. The New Balance Made in UK silhouettes are distinct and remain timeless classics, while utilising high quality materials. Today, the New Balance 576, one of the earliest silhouettes to be made in Flimby, is still being manufactured. More than 279 associates continue to make classic New Balance styles at Flimby, including bring-back models such as the CT300, as well as progressing the brand with silhouettes such as the MH1500. Through the passion of the New Balance associates and technology advancements, New Balance Made in UK is constantly evolving and continues to manufacture the best classic sport style footwear in the industry."
Last month, we helped curate a list of people, which featured myself and Rob, as well as 4 other very special guests, where we attended an exclusive retreat in the English Lake District for cream teas, hikes, outdoor BBQ’s, hazy pub afternoons, local ales, cooked full-English breakfasts and of course a trip to the Flimby Factory to learn about our 35 years of refined craftsmanship and a very rare opportunity to produce your own ‘35th’ 576, 1500 or 991.
^ that little bit there was what was on our invite, sounds like a bit of a dream right? It really was!
The first day was arrivals day, and other than heading to the accomodation, some of us were lucky enough to swing by Shap and visit the outlet on our way up from Manchester airport.
This was a pretty special start to the trip to be honest, as we got to meet the legend that is Ruth for the first time, and Richie who has visited Shap previously in 2006, had some pictures to show her that were taken during his visit. Really great little outlet, and Ruth is incredible, held in such high regard by NB collectors globally for her help over the years.
Back on the road, en route to our accomodation and deep into the Lake District we went. Arriving at this incredible house near Cockermouth, Cumbria, the truly perfect setting for this trip.
It was the second day and we were straight into it, off to Flimby, and barely any time to take it all in for the first-timers as they were greeted with trays which housed the various parts of their soon to be 1of1.
To actually be able to make it happen, prior to the event, we had to select the model, design the colourway, as well as a rough material selection, so when we got to the factory, there was a mix of various different materials and colours in our trays, and we just had to select which ones we wanted.
Here's some images below of us trying to piece our designs together...
After we were all done selecting materials and colours, off our trays went out into the factory to be made, and it was now time for a tour of the factory.
A special shout out to Jim for putting up with an excitable group of NB enthusiasts just wanting to take pictures and record everything.
Our third day, and back to the Flimby Factory we went. I think by this point, everyone was just dying to pick up their shoes, but it wasn't to be, they were still being made, but we were lucky enough to get to watch Richie see his 1of1 come together. Incredible.
We were then treated to a visit to the archive at Flimby, and as you can imagine, it was quite hard to get us back out of that room.
After some lunch, a little bit of free time, and a stroll in the stunning countryside, for the third and last time, we were back to Flimby, but this time in the evening where we were greeted by a dark factory floor but the most amazing dinner setup at the back. That definitely took a while to sink in.
And then finally, the moment we had all been waiting for!
The factory manager Andy Okolowicz pushed in a trolley with our shoes and presented them to us individually. We tried to capture the moments below, enjoy!
By this point, we'd all ran outside to take some pictures of them in whatever daylight remained, because that's just what you have to do. Here are all the pairs together, as well as the individual 1of1's with their creators.
Rob Stewart -
Richie Roxas -
Tiago Escada Ramos -
Tom Knoll -
Ida Broen -
Thomas Lindie -
Our last day, and that meant departure day, but not before a stop in Keswick at the outlet, and also back to Shap for some last minute purchases.
Thanks to Shelley for her hospitality at Keswick, and of course, Ruth again for hers at Shap.
A final note before we sign this post off, and we're using that to send our thanks to all those who made this incredible trip happen, who looked after us, and who go to the lengths that they do to let us be part of this NB family.
So to Tom, Joe, Justin, John, Kieran, Percy, Heather, Andy, Dawn, Mark, thank you, we appreciate you all. Thanks for letting us play a small part in celebrating the 35th anniversary, we are beyond happy and proud.
And shouts to the incredible staff who work at Flimby, thanks for you passion, dedication, and commitment to the best brand. Here's to the next 35 years!
Make sure you check out the official video below, as well as this article from our friend Matt over on Complex.