THE JJJOUND EFFECT: A COLLABORATION THAT ALWAYS WORKS

THE JJJOUND EFFECT: A COLLABORATION THAT ALWAYS WORKS

by Sam Gunn
4 min
© JJJound

Founded by Justin R. Saunders in 2006, JJJound began its inception as a ‘digital mood board intended to examine the recurring patterns in timeless design’. Fast-forward 16 years later and Saunders’ so-called ‘mood board’ has taken this light-hearted, preempted analysis of what he intended to do and flipped it into a leading collaborator and brand in its own right, own lane and fully approved. 

Saunders’ JJJound is a depiction of minimalist, long-lasting design that doesn’t associate itself to products infiltrated into trends, heroing ‘ideal versions’ of everyday staples. The combination of the ‘everyday’ and having the knack to examine recurring patterns has left JJJound at the centrefold of timeless design.

Alongside a collection of understated essentials, JJJound has built up a roster of undeniable collaborations throughout the years. Bape, Reebok, Dr. Martens, Vans, and Padmore & Barnes have all had the pleasure of joining forces with Saunders. But the collaboration which made the greatest mark lies at the door of Boston’s New Balance. Arriving at the end of 2018, New Balance’s Made in the USA outfit collaborated with JJJound on the 990v3 silhouette – a clean, minimalist collaboration shimmering in high-end fabrication, earth-like tones – no overstated colouration or vibrancy, but a low-key aesthetic, appeasing New Balance aficionados and new-found consumerists alike.

JJJound and New Balance have since gone on to form an assembly of collaboration products through the 990 series, bearing similar colour tones and familiar fabrication to their predecessors. Again, it hasn’t been anything ground-breaking, but that’s what keeps consumers on their toes.

It fits an aesthetic of clean lines embedded into both brands’ DNA, hence their popularity. Some of which hold resale values into the thousands. It is no denying it works, but why is the fine-tuned wheel that keeps the cogs ticking on this collaboration so widespread in the fashion guise?

Where New Balance’s 990 series remains integral to the brand’s unequivocal rise of recent times, it has been a force of early exploration to get where they are now. The 990v3 – a leading foray into new design and a shift away from the features of the v1 and v2 – represented a visual departure from the ‘classic’. Inlaying new grounds of materiality and technology, New Balance was able to build on their early models with contemporary effect. It was streamlined and modern, and an appropriate first silhouette for the JJJound collaboration. 

© JJJound

The JJJound and New Balance microcosm is one that compliments each other. From v3 and v4 models of late, the grounds laid for this partnership are embedded into the traditions of New Balance. Paving the way for what was once regarded as a sport dominated label has now ascended into a leading player of contemporary fashion footwear.

From Dads on suburban strolls or supermodels on the catwalk, New Balance has become an omnipresent figure of thriving style tribes across the globe. Taking sportswear to streetwear but also having the ability to find the middle ground of today’s zeitgeist. 

As New Balance is steeped in history, JJJound’s lifespan remains still young. But the codes of practice very much align. The 990 series has been the canvas for both to play, and play they will, but who is the winner? New Balance feeds the JJJound palette, uplifting the brand from its canvas of infrequent drops into the limelight now and then, without putting a foot wrong.

On the other hand, JJJound is a channel for New Balance, acting in a façade to propel the brand into unfound territories while wearing the mask of collaboration, providing a lexicon of consumers into its own world.

© nb_socialclub

New Balance and JJJound just works. The sum of the brand’s effort equates to a working phenomenon. Think ‘Less is more’, formed by an alliance of historical silhouettes and a minimalist world navigated through so-called trend shifts, blurring genres of design to become a body of work recognised by all.

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