2015 Highlights

First of all, a very Happy New Year to all who read my blog! I hope 2015 was a great year for you all, and I wish you and your families all the best for 2016! Secondly, I haven't had much of a chance to post regularly on my blog over the last couple of months, mainly due to the amount I've been working, but I wanted to do a post where I rounded up all of the highlights in 2015 for myself.

January

In January of 2015, I was lucky enough to be invited to a couple events, one of which was a special preview of the New Balance 1500 x Footpatrol "Encyclopaedia", which was held at Library on St. Martin's Lane in London. The event was attended by a small number of people, mainly press and loyal customers, and we were treated to a personal Q+A with some of the New Balance team, as well as an insight into the Footpatrol shoe, while being able to indulge in some fine food and drink. Shouts to all who were behind the event!

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The second event, which coincidentally enough took part on the same day, was for the launch of the New Balance C-Series. The event was held at the Tokyo Bike store in London, with over 300 people attending for a night filled with beer, food, great company, and a chance to check out the collection in person.

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March

My girlfriend is a little bit obsessive with travelling, and although we don't get to do much because of work and other commitments, we do try, and we decided to visit Iceland in March. Our time spent in Reykjavik and surrounding areas was beyond excellent, and we can't wait to plan our next trip there!

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There's one pair of New Balance that I've came to love, and is one of my absolute all time favourites - the 1300JP. The 28th of March was to see the release of the 1300JP2, 5 years after the 2010 release of the 1300JP, so this definitely warrants a place in my highlights. My only regret is that I wish I grabbed a second pair!

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April

I've grown up watching American TV shows, American sport, playing games like GTA, and just obsessing over all things America, so one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to do is go and visit, and so we hit up New York City in April, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I wrote a two part blog post (part one and part two) about our time spent there, but I'll definitely be back in the very near future!

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Over the last couple of years, I've became great friends with the guys behind the UK's best and original sneaker event; Crepe City. The 25th of April saw their 13th edition of Crepe City, and of course, they absolutely smashed it. Shout out to those guys!

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May

Towards the end of 2014, I had heard rumours that New Balance would be sponsoring Celtic FC for the forthcoming season, so naturally, when my favourite brand are rumoured to sponsor the football team I support, I get a little excited. Anyway, fast forward a few months down the line and I'm sat at Celtic Park for the official New Balance kit launch!

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July

Emma and myself made it a point of trying to get out and explore as much as possible during summer, but we live in Scotland right, so we don't get much of a summer. Anyway, we managed to check out a couple of castles, Crathes Castle being one of them...

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And Castle Fraser being another...

 

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One of my fondest memories from childhood was Saturdays spent climbing Bennachie with my family, or with my school friends, and it had literally been years since I'd went for a wander up that way.

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The last Wednesday of July, as NB Gallery, myself and Rob headed to Cockermouth, a town in Cumbria, England, for the official global launch of the New Balance Real Ale Pack, and boy was it good. The hospitality over the few days that we were there was absolutely faultless, big big shout to all those involved for absolutely nailing the event, and great to see old and new faces!

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August

It had been long overdue, but finally, on the 1st of August 2015, Scotland had it's first ever sneaker festival - Solebloc, held in Glasgow, and it was an absolute banger. The event itself was held at the excellent SWG3, a warehouse in Glasgow's West End, and was the best setting for the event.

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We created our first ever NB Gallery Showcase at Solebloc with over 250+ pairs of New Balance on display!

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I got my hands on some never-before-seen New Balance x hanon shop samples!

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After what felt like a pretty hectic couple of months, myself and Emma took a little jaunt off to Italy for 10 days or so, and we visited some pretty sweet places along the way.

First up, Rome!

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From Rome, we took a de-tour via Naples to visit Pompeii and it's ruins.

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Heading back to Rome from Pompeii later that night, the next morning we packed up and jumped on a train to the lovely city of Pisa.

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Pisa was an absolute dream, but our time was up, and it was off to Florence we went.

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However, we both fell in love with Rome, so before we left, we had to re-visit that amazing city! If you ever get the chance to go to Rome, do NOT pass it up.

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September

From the tourist filled cities of Italy, to the tranquil lochs of Scotland with a bothy fit for the Queen, Loch Muick was a great escape for a day!

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Trying to fit in as much as possible before the dark nights truly set in, and we'd no longer be able to explore and take the dog on some adventures on the week nights, we headed north up the coast to Collieston.

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Now this is one trip that I had wanted to do for a while, and just could never get the time to do it. Sadly Emma couldn't make it along, but we'll be making a point of heading back this year or next now that Aberdeen fly direct to Warsaw. Anyway, it was great to head to Warsaw and catch up with my great friends Arek, Maciek, and Radek, along with everyone else I met. Huge thanks for the hospitality!

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Conveniently, my trip coincided with Warsaw’s edition of Sneakerness, and it was definitely the perfect event to pop my Sneakerness cherry, and a big shout out to all the great people who worked tirelessly to pull off the third Sneakerness in Warsaw, as well as the absolutely wild night out!

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October

One last castle before the year ends? It's only right! And New Slains Castle was the perfect one to end the year on!

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Apparently, if you visit the Bullers of Buchan at a certain time during the year, you can spot some Puffins nesting. Sadly, no puffins for us, just empty hidden rock beaches and miles of coastline.

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It had felt like an absolute age since the last hanon shop collaboration, I was certainly struggling to remember when I was last at an in-store release for one at the time of writing the post for this shoe, but anyway, the "Spirit of '83" was a massive success, and rightly so.

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The 14th instalment of Crepe City fell on Halloween and it was the most successful Crepe City yet, which included the launch of their first branded apparel and merchandise collection, as well as their inaugural magazine launch.

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November and Year End 

This might have been the most important month of the year for me, as I started working for hanon shop. Over the last year or so, I had already been doing bits and pieces for them, and helping out in-store at some of their releases, but I am now working for them officially.

My role involves photography and social media, as well as some other things, but basically the two main things I have been doing seriously for the last few years.

My first main project would be the Asics Gel-Lyte III x hanon shop "Lyte Night", where I was shot all the images for the press release.

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The second project I shot the week after was the Le Coq Sportif LCS R1000 x hanon shop.

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If you want to follow my work at hanon, be sure to check out @hanonshop on Instagram and Twitter.

Since November, I have been working full time for hanon shop, as well as my other job, and on top of that, doing NB Gallery and other bits, so I haven't had much time to myself which is why this blog has been neglected a little. I hope you can understand, and I promise I won't be so infrequent with the blog posts going forward!

Anyway, I am super excited about what's to come in 2016 and look forward to sharing it with you all!

Warsaw

So originally myself and Emma had planned to go to Warsaw for a little tourist trip, but sadly she had to cancel her holidays, so I used it as an opportunity to catch up with some good friends and check out Sneakerness Warsaw. I knew as soon as I booked the flights with Air France and the short connection in Charles de Gaulle that there would be issues, and rightly so... my bag never made it from one plane to another. Big up Air France, nice job. Thankfully, I got my bag delivered to the hotel the next evening.

I stayed at the Radisson Blu Centrum for three nights, and thankfully it's location meant that it was perfect for being able to reach the Sneakerness Warsaw event in under 10 minutes walk, as well as only being a short distance away from the main tourist spots. Definitely recommend it.

Arriving quite late in the evening on Friday, and after the carry on with my bag still being in transit, all I wanted to do was chill out, and get my bearings for the Sneakerness Event on the Saturday, so I headed to the Pałac Kultury i Nauki where the event was being held to check it out.

Now this place is pretty cool, and extremely tall, stands out like a sore thumb in the middle of Warsaw, but definitely the craziest place I've ever been to for a sneaker event.

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It's pretty great that I can go to so many different places in the world, and be able to meet up with people who I have met through collecting trainers. A big shout to Diana and Pavel from Moscow who were on their travels in Europe but took a detour to Warsaw for the weekend, really great people.

And of course, my Suede&Mesh boys - Arek, Maciek, and Radek. First and foremost, those guys are the absolute shit, gotta say a big thanks for all their hospitality over the weekend, and a huge congrats on an extremely successful Sneakerness event, curated by them!

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Radek, Arek, Maciek, Pavel, and myself, photo taken by Diana.

Friday night was spent catching up with those guys, and helping out a bit at the event, getting prepared for opening on Saturday, but I was exhausted so it was time for bed.

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Pałac Kultury i Nauki by night.

Saturday -

9am alarm, and time for Sneakerness Warsaw!

You can check the full write up by clicking here.

After checking out the event for a bit, myself, Pavel and Diana decided to go on a little wander to Warsaw's "Old Town", which was pretty close to the Pałac Kultury i Nauki, and is apparently the main tourist district of Warsaw. That was soon realised when you see the price of foodand drink start to increase the closer you get, whereas it's very very very cheap away from this area!

We literally had no plan, and just walked and walked, so here are a bunch of shots below of what we found on our travels.

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Big thanks to Maciek for the Legia top, I'll wear anything when I have no other clothes to wear.. ;) 

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These guys were putting on quite the show in one of the squares in Warsaw Old Town, so we spent some time checking out their skills.

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After our little trip around the Old Town, we headed back to the event to catch up with the guys, and then had a few stops to make.

Firstly, we went to the nearest shop to get some necessities as I still hadn't heard anything about my luggage, so I grabbed some underwear, toothpaste and a toothbrush. Definitely necessities, right?

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Sunset behind the Pałac Kultury i Nauki.

We then went to where Pavel and Diana were staying, and then back to my hotel to see about my bag, and of course, it was at reception! A phone call, text or email would have been appreciated from Air France to let me know it had been delivered, which was promised, but anyway, I got it, that was the main thing!

So I got changed, and by this time, the Sneakerness Event had finished for the Saturday, so we headed to Arek's apartment, and passed a McDonalds on the way, so obviously we grabbed some quick munch. They have these machines to order your food and then collect at the counter, new to me, clearly the UK is a little behind!

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Looking towards Warsaw City Centre from Arek's apartment.

Sadly, I have nothing to show for Saturday night in the form of pictures, but I can assure you that on Sunday I had one massive hangover! It was a crazy night. The Polish sure do love their vodka, and their crazy secret clubs.

It was also great to meet old and new faces, and be able to have a drink together and chat all things footwear! Shouts to Pavel, Diana, Arek, Radek, Robert, Chris, Francky, Tebar, Lorenzo, Diana and everyone else for an awesome night!

 Sunday -

Sneakerness is a two day event, so nursing a vodka hangover, I headed to the event by midday so that I could get some shots for my blog post on the event, but I had left my camera at Arek's, and he forgot to take it, so we had to swing by there and grab it.

I literally just spent the day at the event, drinking, and chatting, really chilled out vibe, and then we tidied up at the end, and said goodbye to Sneakerness Warsaw's 3rd Edition.

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Apparently the best method to put up and take down the Sneakerness banner from the roof...

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Pavel and Diana had an early morning flight back to Barcelona, so we said our goodbyes and then we headed back to Suede&Mesh HQ, and grabbed some beers!

The guys wanted to go for some food so we went to this place (I'll get the name) where they pretty much had a shot of vodka with every course, and they had around 8 courses! One shot of vodka was enough for me, thanks!

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Monday -

Monday was sadly home time, but with an afternoon flight, it meant I still had a chance to meet up with the guys and have some lunch with them!

Finally, good to be able to just sit and chill without the stress of an event, but the Suede&Mesh team killed it, seriously.

I'll hopefully get back to Warsaw next summer, got some big plans for Europe!

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Sneakerness Warsaw

Warsaw's edition of Sneakerness was definitely the perfect event to pop my Sneakerness cherry, and a big shout out to all the great people who worked tirelessly to pull off the third Sneakerness in Warsaw. Although the Warsaw edition isn't the biggest out of all the Sneakerness events, it certainly had all bases covered, whether that was from shoes for sale such as recent releases, collaborations, vintage pairs, or the combination of good music, free entry, and even the cookies & cream ice cream which was on offer, all the necessary boxes were checked.

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I spoke with many of the guys about how the "culture" compared to other places in Europe, and they certainly feel that in Poland, it isn't as big as somewhere like the UK or Germany, but it is definitely on the rise, and in the next few years, I'm sure it will reach new heights.

First off, before I even get into the shoes, let's take a moment to look at the venue, because this place is pretty spectacular.

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The Palace of Culture and Science (or in Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki), is the tallest building in Poland and the eighth tallest building in the European Union, standing at a whopping 758ft tall.

The event was held within a relatively small room inside the Palace, but I think it was the perfect fit for sure, and created a great vibe across both days. It was good to go to a trainer event and either not be able to hear yourself talk because of the over the top loud music, or not have enough space to even lift your arms from your sides.

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Entering the event after paying absolutely nothing due to the free admission (definitely a nice touch), and getting some more freebies, you were greeted with Crep Protect, who had a cleaning booth setup, with Puma on the right hand side displaying some new models.

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The layout of the room had brands and stores around the outside in small sort of alcove areas, with the private sellers located in the middle, which was extremely easy to navigate. The Warsaw edition saw brands like Reebok who were focussing on their collaboration with Maison Kitsuné, and also New Balance, who had a spectacular presentation of the "Real Ale Pack" and "Napes Pack". The New Balance presentation was obviously the star of the show for me.

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There was also DC Shoes, Supra and Etnies, as well as stores such as Sneakers by Distance, Worldbox, Dots, Sneaker Studio and Lithuanian based SIL, who all brought something unique to the event.

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All credit to the event organisers, the brands, the stores, the private sellers, and everyone who passed through that door on Saturday and Sunday, the event would not have been as successful as it was without all those guys, and extremely proud to see my good friend's rewarded with such a great event.

Also, big shout to all those who turned out for that crazy afterparty, a night to remember in Warsaw!

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New Balance Museum - Sneakerness Warsaw

teaser As many of you know, Sneakerness travels all across Europe from city to city to put on events, and they never fail to have something special on show. Amidst all the trainers for sale, and brand showcases, the team at New Balance Poland and Suede&Mesh put together a one of a kind New Balance Museum.

The New Balance Museum showcased the history of New Balance, with more than 80 vintage pairs on show, starting with the first ever official New Balance running shoe - The Trackster.

With pairs donated from the Suede&Mesh crews own collection, along with those of renowned collectors Tiago Escada Ramos and Mike Sekinger, the vintage selection on show was nothing short of incredible, and they ranged from 1967 all the way through to 1999, pieces of history indeed.

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The picture above shows the very first New Balance models from 1967 on the left hand side with the famous New Balance Trackster.

Along with the stunning selection of vintage pairs, the current UK Made and USA Made collection was on show, and displayed in furniture which was created especially for the Museum.

Some of the recent favourites, such as the New Balance 997PR, 998MD, and of course the upcoming Flimby 1500 Gentleman's Choice Pack were displayed.

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It is unheard of to have such a vast collection of vintage pieces all on display in the one place, so this was an extremely rare exhibition, and quite possibly the first in history. Let's hope we see more of this sort of stuff in years to come.

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Furthermore, Flimby in the UK pride themselves on craftmanship, and all their pairs are hand made in that historic factory in Cumbria. This year was the anniversary of one of Flimby's most popular models, the 577, and the Museum featured a wall which detailed the stages of creating the 577ANN, from all the pieces of panelling, right up to the complete production shoe.

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The whole exhibition was finished off with a special Flimby movie presented on the wall, a truly excellent exhibition and something that everyone should be able to check out.

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All pics via Sneakerness Warsaw/Piotr Ciezkowski.

Be sure to check out the video below too:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw26-wkQDuQ]