It’s not an easy time to launch something new. But for Sarah Staudinger and George Augusto, co-founders of Staud, an athletic collaboration might just be the answer to the simple fact that no one is dressing up anymore.
The contemporary brand, which normally specializes in whimsical-cool-girl garments like sheer maxi dresses, velvet jumpsuits and plenty of ’90s-inspired mom shoes, just announced a collaboration with New Balance that focuses instead on versatile activewear and a pair of brightly color-blocked sneakers with a very specific inspiration point:
“There is this photo of Susan Sarandon on a balcony in Cannes in 1978, at the film festival, and she’s wearing a pair of chic pants and New Balance running shoes and it all fit so perfectly,” said Augusto, referencing an image of the young actress sitting on said balcony, wearing white casual trousers, a pair of blue suede New Balances, argyle socks and a black blazer with nothing underneath. “With her strength as a woman, that whole image was so indicative for us. It was a great starting point, we thought if we can capture that in the collection, that would be it.”
The duo used New Balance’s 997 silhouette to fulfill their vision, using a color-blocked palette similar to the color play they’ve used in regular collections. Strips of bright orange, yellow and green suede mingle with baby blue and pink, with a black-accented heel to give some weight. “It was the shoe we wanted to collaborate on; it’s such a classic style and we wanted to keep it that way,” said Staudinger. “It was about infusing it with our aesthetics and color and optimism, just giving it a little fun flare.”
Versatility and convertibility were also key goals for Staudinger and Augusto in creating the collab, with jackets that unzip to a cropped version, bike shorts that are both active and lounge-friendly, and sports tops that look like they could eventually double as a going-out top. “It was a different approach because of the functionality and technicality of the activewear. Creating a top you’re going to wear out is so different from making a top that you’re going to run in,” said Staudinger. “That was a fun challenge but it was definitely new for us.”
The sportswear collection (which ranges from $60 to $180 and also feels very Princess Di in the height of her ’90s bike shorts era) will debut on both the Staud and New Balance sites on May 14, while the sneakers, priced at $230, will be available to pre-order for an August delivery. The collab is just the latest for New Balance in a string of fashion forward partnerships.