Three years ago, Ricardo Seco debuted pairs of Huichol-inspired New Balance shoes at New York Fashion Week. However, the shoes – modeled after the beautiful and intricately beaded artwork of Mexico’s Huichol community – weren’t available for sale. That is, until now. For the past three years, the businessman-turned-designer has worked alongside New Balance to make these shoes a reality. On Saturday, December 9, the Ricardo Seco x New Balance 574 will be available online and at retailers around the world.
Seco, who’s known to draw from his native Mexico for his collections, visited the Wixárika in San Andres, Jalisco four years ago. When he arrived, he realized he knew nothing of their reality, so he spent time trying to learn how to better support them. He found that bargaining had hurt the community.
“When they’re trying to sell (their products), and you haggle to bring the price down and the artisan ends up selling it to you at a low cost, because their necessity is too great and they can’t wait for someone to come along and pay the fair price,” he tells me in a phone interview, adding that it inspired him to begin Walking Together to help combat this culture of bargaining.
For his New Balance collection, Seco says the shoes are merely inspired by Huichol art, but none of it is supposed to appear traditional. He didn’t enlist the Wixárika to create or design the shoes. Instead, he and the shoe company made the shoe appear bead covered through 3D printing techniques. “There isn’t an identical symbol or an identical technique,” he says. “If we had used something that was exactly identical, then we wouldn’t be able to use the shoes as sneakers.”
But because the collection could not have existed without the Wixárika’s beaded art, Seco has pledged half of the percentage he receives to the community. “Ricardo Seco with his projects of Yo Soy Mexico (and) Walking Together gives half of his percentage to the community,” he says.
The shoes, which will retail for $180, will be available in sizes 4 to 13. Head to New Balance’s site to cop a pair.