DMV x New Balance. Introducing the DMV 990
I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for the New Balance DMV 990 launch at Lost Society in Washington, D.C. You could feel the energy and excitement in the room now that the DMV finally has it's own New Balance shoe in partnership with DTLR. DC's showed up and out for this event with everyone from Chaz French, Will Tha Rapper, Joe Clair, DJ Quicksilva, DJ Miklo and Greenspan all making appearances.
Luckily for me, I had the chance to speak with June Sanders the designer of the DMV 990. Born and raised in the DMV, he is the Product Design Manager at DTLR and yet another example that hard work, passion and determination will push you toward your dreams. Check out the interview below.
How long has the 990 been this big in the DC region (DMV)?
As long as I can remember. I'm from here. I'm from DC, but I grew up in Maryland. Always. Even back in high school, we wore 990s, 991s, 992s; so it's just something that I knew growing up, hey, that's a cool shoe to wear. So it just grew into it. And this particular model is the 990 V4 which is the fourth edition of the 990. They make these, like every 3-4 years, they make a new version. It's the Mercedes Benz of the New Balance company.
Why did you choose to go with a Maryland theme over a DC or Virginia color scheme?
If you look at "DMV", Maryland is in the middle. It's the most recognizable flag out of all three. And I think it takes color the best. If I did Virginia, maybe it would be red, white and blue. If I did DC, it would be red and white. I thought that Maryland is the most prominent, and I think it made the most sense. The people that's from Maryland or Virginia, they say they're from the DMV. People from DC, if they're not from here will say they're from the DMV. So DMV makes sense. It's more for the people that are from here. If you're not from here and you say you're going to the DMV, most people think the Department of Motor Vehicles. That's why the shoe is more for the people that's from here that get it. If you're outside this area, you won't get it. It's just a nod to that. I did Maryland because I like the color, so I thought it was the best one to do. But I still gave a nod to DC on the packaging. You'll notice I gave a hint from DC and a hint from Virginia on the outside packaging. It's not totally all Maryland. I don't call it Maryland; I call it DMV.
How long have you been a designer?
I'm the Product Design Manager for DTLR. I've been with DTLR, in November it will be 13 years. I was a buyer for the company for clothing, footwear and accessories initially which transitioned into more of a lifestyle specialist for the product. So in order to stay relevant, we've got to make special product. My goal is to make special product and to figure out how to market them and do cool events like this. I've designed clothes way longer, from cut and sew to graphics. Now I want to gear it more toward shoes. I've been doing shoes for a couple years now. I've done Timberland, the Ewing shoe, I did Puma, I got some FILA's coming out. So I've got other projects coming out, it's just this is the one that's become the biggest. One that people want to look and see, like hey, what's this? I'm reppin' for my city.
Who or where do you draw inspiration from in regards to your design aesthetic?
The shift has changed from what we grew up liking. I'm still a fan of Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Hugo Boss. But I'm more into art now, so I get influenced by looking at art. Art is fashion. Right now, people are selling art like fashion. That's that new wave. So I'm more into the art aesthetic and understanding that and trying to figure out how to transition that into shoes. That's really going to be the next thing.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to our readers?
I would say focus and do what you really love. Cuz who wants to go to a job you don't really like? If you think about it, why I want to sit at work? I'm happy when I go to work, because I know I get to do what I like and I get to set my own agenda for what makes sense. You gotta do what you really like, and for me, I'm still growing. I still want to get bigger and bigger. I want people to know that, hey, I'm not the guy that's just sits behind the desk. I want to do other stuff. I want to get into the culture more. I want to do things that's going to uplift the culture and then doing it with product.
The DMV 990 drops September 2. If you're from the DMV, I suggest you cop these immediately .