Bradley reflects on the association he has on the scene with Smith & Abrahams - which in fact, was a culmination of a long road of collecting sneakers, “It’s funny, the store was actually quite late on in my journey. I started collecting a long, long time ago - and seriously since ‘96. I’d finished high school, and I was already side hustling then. I grew up in Athlone, which you know is heavy Bubbelkop territory, and I was one of like four skateboarders in the area at the time. I got into metal and punk at that age, and I’ve always just wanted something different. The first pair of New Balances I ever saw, was the drop of the 990s. There was a place called ‘Books by Kilo’ that used to sell imported magazines that they couldn’t sell anymore - like issues that were already 8 months old - crazy fashion magazines, or sometimes I’d come across a Japanese magazine which blew my mind.”
“Anyone and everyone I ever knew, who had anyone they know going overseas, I’d ask if they could bring something in for me. Fast forwarding to the early 2000s, we were making headway - and New Balance entered the country. I’d been watching them since the previous millenia, and at that point we were seeing it happen via blogs - this was before any social media, really. It was wild, when all the samples came in; they’d end up so cheaply at the New Balance factory store. I think it’s taken a while for people to come around to what an incredible shoe it is.”
“We got to meet some incredible people, from the guys at Patta to Asics. To give you an idea of what a show like that can do, a few months later we get this email, saying ‘do you guys have a friends & family account?” That’s the highest account you can be awared. It’s a big deal. Suddenly, the store is firmly on the map - brands who weren’t listening to us before - were coming to us.” This would later see Smith & Abrahams be awarded one of the highest tier accounts by New Balance, after forging a strong connection to its buyer at the time. The store went onto drop some of the most iconic collaborations, “New Balance stands out for me, because they’ve had both programs - Made in USA and Made in UK - for years, using local factories, with craftsmen working on it in a certain way. They stuck to their guns.”
“When the thought process behind the functionality is mastered, then the beauty really is able to come through; it results in beautiful aesthetic. For New Balance, it's so considered. The highly functional outsole is made with the richest fabrication, and in the tonal colours - this is probably one of the most exciting drops I’ve seen all year.”
The New Balance 2002R - Available in-store only at Lemkus via live raffle Friday, 30th September '22 - Limited to 60 raffle tickets.