We’re absolutely obsessed with continuing to improve & refine our beloved Henry sneaker. It’s performance attributes and clean aesthetics have made the Henry a staple for those who don’t want flashy branding or obnoxious color. Best put by our friends at Hypebeast:
“Incognito aesthetic. Lightweight and breathable functionality.”
New for the Spring/Summer 2018 season, we engineered a custom air mesh with one of the leading textile innovators in the footwear game. The end result is our multi-layered ‘Cloud Mesh’ which we’ve applied to the Henry for maximum breathability and comfort. The ‘Cloud Mesh’ is carefully woven into a geometric pattern for increased tensile strength and the multi layered foam package forms to the foot to enhance the ‘slipper like’ fit that the Henry has become known for. We stripped out everything unnecessary and kept only what you need for maximum performance.
We shot our Spring/Summer 2018 brand campaign at the Roger Williams Botanical Garden in Providence, RI with our friends and featured fighters Russell Clarke, a musician and 4th degree black belt in Karate, and Alice Liao, a elementary school teacher, Pilates instructor and Haymaker’s for Hope alumni. Our inspiration for the season was all about celebrating the simple beauty of the natural world and the power of the human spirit.
We sat down with Elizabeth McGarry, YORK Athletics’ Creative Director, to dig a little deeper into the inspiration and creative direction for this season’s brand campaign and product design.
YORK: What was the inspiration for the Spring/Summer 2018 collection and brand campaign photoshoot?
EM: With every collection that we build, we strive for performance integrity that slips seamlessly into every other aspect of your life. It’s that quiet, humble approach to performance that makes our products a favorite for our community. It’s also our design challenge to continue to evolve and perfect our products while keeping the aesthetic as chill and understated as we can. We’ve been talking a lot about embracing both the lover and fighter within us, so I was inspired to capture the softer side of our fighters. This is visible in both the product materials and color palette, and in how we brought the product to life on our band of ambassadors for the campaign.
YORK: How did shooting at the Roger Williams Botanical Garden bring this vision to life?
EM: I couldn’t wait to capture these badass fighters in a space full of life and light. The garden was the perfect escape and setting. It was nearly 80 degrees and full of lush plant life while snow was on the ground and not a bud on a bush was visible outside. The environment really loosened everyone up--it had a meditative quality and embraced us. We shot with our incredibly talented friend, photographer Buck Squibb, who joked about wearing camo and hiding in the bushes to shoot his subjects! Honestly, he did hide in the bushes and was able to capture some incredibly intimate moments by providing space and solitude while our friends Russell and Alice flowed through their kata and yoga.
YORK: Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this season’s colorways and new ‘Cloud Mesh’ development?
EM: For this spring, we wanted to strip the Henry down as much as possible, to be as close to your skin as possible. We nerded out on microscopic images of the human cellular structure which inspired us in every way. From our mesh material which is woven into a strong web of supportive and durable cells, then filled with a series of small windows of open mesh for breathability. Normally a material of this nature would need an extra layer of lining but we worked with our mill to increase the tencel strength of the yarns so we could eliminate any unnecessary layers. The concept also provided us with the inspiration for the color palette of palm pink, pale grey, and black. This palm pink is a tone that we labored over to get just right. It’s a calming shade, a half tone of the infamous baker-miller pink. I’ll quote @chris__chew and just say #realhumanswearpink.
YORK: How did you land on shooting with our friends Russell Clarke and Alice Liao for this campaign?
EM: We were introduced to Russell through another super-talented photographer friend of ours who has worked with him in the past. He is absolutely stunning and has the credentials as a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Karate. And once we met in person, we discovered he’s basically a giant teddy bear. This dichotomy comes across in his photos too… He’s at once strong and gentle and altogether commanding.
We were introduced to Alice through Haymakers For Hope's 'Belles of the Brawl' charity boxing event (YORK was the official footwear sponsor). When Alice took to the ring, she had the most memorable demeanor. She came out like a ray of sunshine. When the natural tendency is to mean mug your opponent, she came out with open arms. She fought hard, but she loved hard, too. I knew right away I wanted to shoot with her for a future campaign. At the botanical garden, she struck that same complexity I saw in the ring. Tough, soft, strong, sweet, nasty, hilarious, vulnerable… all of it.
YORK: What is your personal favorite Spring / Summer color way this season?
EM: I’m rocking Palm! I personally rarely deviate from a monochromatic palette of black, grey, and white for myself. I don’t own any pink, but these sneakers have me swooning.
The Henry ‘Cloud Mesh’ is now available in Palm (super small batch) and Stone Grey, with Blacktop dropping on April 12. Check out the collection now...