UBIQ will be releasing their latest collaboration with New Balance, the 1600 “The Benjamin” tomorrow Saturday, June 29th, at UBIQ Walnut. Read our interview with Paul Lee, who serves as Buyer and Brand Manager for Ubiq as he discusses the sneaker, what inspired it and what’s next for Ubiq.
Uristocrat: What inspired UBIQ to come up with the Benjamin Sneaker?
Paul Lee, UBIQ: We wanted to tell a story with our NB shoe. The shoe had to symbolic to Philadelphia so we looked at Benjamin Franklin for our inspiration. “The Benjamin” short for Benjamin Franklin.
Uristocrat: How was the process from inception of the sneaker to production? How was it working with New Balance
Paul Lee, UBIQ: The New Balance team made everything easy. The entire process from designing to production went by so quickly. The entire UBIQ team and I have always appreciated the New Balance brand so everything was great. Everything was done organically which we all appreciate. They gave us the freedom as far as all the creatives go and supported us all the way through. Salute to everyone at NB that was involved with this project.
Uristocrat: What inspired the use of Benjamin Franklin for the sneaker?
Paul Lee, UBIQ: Benjamin Franklin is a very symbolic figure in Philadelphia and in US history. We wanted to pay homage to Philly’s favorite son. UBIQ, Philly, BF… it just made sense.
Paul Lee, UBIQ: The sneaker culture in Philly has definitely grown especially among the younger kids. I’m a early 80’s baby so things were a lot different back then. The amount of attention and appreciation for sneakers is overwhelming. There’s lineups for every release. The sneaker culture in Philly as far as hype goes is alive and well.
Uristocrat: Speaking of that, What are your thoughts on current sneaker culture?
Paul Lee, UBIQ: There’s sneaker drops from every brand from retro’s to new styles, there’s a ton of sneaker shows in every state/city… that occur almost every other month which get packed with kids young and old, there are constant lineups in front of shops for releases… so personally I think the current sneaker culture is okay. But then you hear stories of people getting hurt and etc. for a pair of shoes which then you start to put things in perspective. Things like this have always happened but it might have been less publicized in the past, it just comes with the nature of the culture.
Uristocrat: How long have you been working with UBIQand what motivates you to keep the brand and store going?
Paul Lee, UBIQ: I started with UBIQ back in 2002 at it’s first and original store in the Gallery Mall. I left and came back… I’ve been with UBIQ for quite some time now. The sneaker and fashion industry is fast paced so it’s always changing and evolving so I’m always learning and trying to stay on top of what’s happening so that motivates me to continue to work on special projects for the UBIQ brand with the team. Our motto has always been “The World Over,” we look at ourselves as curators of the world… it’s a bold statement but we stand by it so we’re all motivated to do whatever we can for the shop and brand.
Uristocrat: Whats next for Ubiq?
Paul Lee, UBIQ: We have a ton of projects that we’re working on as far as collabs go. You’ll definitely hear about them soon. We’re looking to continuously grow the shop and brand. We appreciate all the love and support.
Uristocrat: Thanks Paul!
Make sure you to be one of the lucky few to pick up a pair of the UBIQ x New Balance “Benjamins” at UBIQ Walnut on June 29th! There will be a special limited edition box set for the UBIQ x New Balance 1600, “The Benjamin”. Each box set contains a Good Wood key and kite necklace, a set of stickers and the red UBIQ x New Balance “The Benjamin” tee that is exclusive to the box set.
The box set is not for sale. Only 24 box sets were made. All those present at our Walnut street location on the day of the release will get a chance to win one. Winners will be determined by finding 1 of 24 keys hidden at random inside various New Balance 1600 shoeboxes. You must be present at the store on Saturday to be eligible to win. Learn more here.
1509 Walnut Street