The man who will take over as creative director of New Balance’s Made in US line in 2022 has been playing in the big leagues for several years. The designer Teddy Santis, who founded his label Aimé Leon Dore in 2014, is one of those designers who focus on elegance, minimalism and authenticity. Let’s take a look at his career.
If refined streetwear had a name, many would name it Aimé Leon Dore. As the brand A.P.C. has done for France, Teddy Santis’ label has given a new taste to New York streetwear by offering minimalist lines, skilful cuts and a more mature and universal fashion. In a very short time, the brand has climbed onto the radar of fashion lovers. The reason? Not hype or even a trend. No, ALD has come to find its place thanks to its high quality proposals, its fair prices and has, as a result, gathered a large target audience in search of authenticity.
Not to mention that Teddy Santis, the son of Greek immigrants who settled in New York, was not predestined for a career in fashion. His background? An experience in the family restaurant in the Bronx, then a stint in an optical shop. The only common thread? A passion for beautiful pieces, a love of 90s New York hip-hop and basketball: a clever melting pot that has slowly shaped his creative identity. To understand Teddy Santis’ philosophy is to dive into 90’s Queens where kids play sports in the street and go to parties without changing clothes, adore Polo Ralph Lauren as well as pairs of Air Force 1 and listen almost religiously to Nas and Mobb Deep.
Hoodies combined with cardigans or straight coats, merino turtlenecks and jogging suits or cargo pants, flannel shirts, premium leather bombers and five-panel hats or suit trousers combined with a nice pair of sneakers: the Aimé Leon Dore silhouette is always clean, precise, streetwise and elegant. The logos are embroidered, the materials sourced in Italy, England or Japan are resistant and breathable, while the pieces are finally made in a New York workshop.
Only one year after its first collection in 2014, ALD joined forces with big names such as KITH for various capsule collections or with footwear giant Puma for the PUMA States. In 2016, ALD unveiled its first collection entirely designed for women. This was followed by collaborations with Timberland, Woolrich and Paraboot, and then in 2019 a decisive turning point was reached. The first collaboration between Aimé Leon Dore and New Balance around an apparel collection with a message and the NB997 model marked the beginning of a prolific partnership.
It seems that these two entities were made to meet. The Boston brand allows Teddy Sentis to dust off some of the archives, like the reissue of the New Balance 850 OG from 1996. A wind of freshness then settles in with each new drop, from the NB990 and its declination of fir green, yellow and blue to the vibrant 827 color block and the advent of basketball with the P550 model or the 1300 with its botanical inspiration.
It’s hardly surprising then that the creative force and enthusiasm of sneakerheads led Teddy Santis to take on a key role at New Balance. Just as Kerby Jean-Raymond (Pyer Moss) won his position as Global Creative Director at Reebok or Kiko Kostadinov at Asics, Teddy Santis will be the official creative director of New Balance’s Made in US line from 2022. A well-deserved status.