Old Brand Brings New Tech to NYFW


Old Brand Brings New Tech To NYFW

Photo: © Norris Danta Ford

Last Thursday, during New York's Fashion Week, New Balance used custom built tech to give away free sneakers to the most uniquely fashionable people. The AI-driven activation included computer-vision scanners that collected real-time fashion data, while identifying those that were fashionable outliers. Once a person was identified as defying the fashion norms, their outfits were shown on a large screen congratulating them and then they were given a pair of free New Balance sneakers. For example, one girl who was wearing stripes won a free pair of sneakers because 60% of people that day were wearing all black outfits.

For a brand that is largely known for running shoes, this activation that is rewarding fashion could be seen as a bold undertaking. But, in the past 5 years New Balance has been embracing the challenger mindset, hence the reward of free sneakers for people that defied fashion norms.  

In a recent interview, New Balance’s VP of Global Marketing, Chris Davis, revealed that New Balance has recently introduced a model called 50/30/20, where 50 percent of their budget is used for what they know works, 30 percent on slight evolution, and 20% on high-risk uncharted territory. It’s safe to say that a NYFW fashion-forward activation utilizing custom AI would be in the 20% of uncharted territory. 

New Balance has its sights set high after hitting $4.5 Billion in revenue in 2017 - an increase from 3.8 Billion the year prior. By 2023, they are aiming to reach $7 Billion in revenue. Only time will tell if their 50/30/20 model and bold forays into the fashion world help them reach that aggressive revenue goal.