MSPMAG: Beloved boot maker Red Wing Shoes has teamed up with North Minneapolis non-profit youth organization Juxtaposition Arts (JXTA) to create a limited-edition capsule collection.
The small-batch product drop includes a black screen-printed hoodie and a unique version of the heritage brand’s cult favorite boot: The Classic Moc.
For Red Wing Shoe’s head of brand and creative Aaron Seymour-Anderson, the collaboration brings his career full circle. “I credit my passion for exploring commercial arts largely in part of what I learned working as a JXTA apprentice when I was 16 years old,” he says.
After returning to Minnesota from Portland (where he worked as creative director for a number of Nike business units), Seymour-Anderson connected with JXTA chief cultural producer Roger Cummings, who co-founded the organization in 1995 with his wife, DeAnna, to plot and dream up ways their respective organizations could co-create and invest in the next generation of young creatives and change-makers.
“On one hand the organizations feel distant,” says Seymour-Anderson. “But on another, when you put them together, you find shared values and what we believe is some nice alchemy and magic.”
During the ideation process, it was important for Red Wing’s team to find true purpose in the collaboration. “We didn’t want just an expected partnership,” says Seymour-Anderson. “But rather one that speaks to our interest in community and appreciating and celebrating creators and craftspeople in those communities.”
The collection gave JXTA apprentices a real-world, hands-on opportunity to take a legendary silhouette and make it their own. The result? A boot that feels fresh and unlike what we’re used to seeing from the brand. Design details and colorful accents—silver speed hooks, eyelets, lace tips, keepers, a red mid sole, and black and red laces—give off a contemporary edge, while also nodding to both brands’ signature design languages.
But in addition to product design, the collaboration was also intended to help teach marketing implementation and campaign creation. As part of the marketing strategy, the teams decided to enlist seven JXTA apprentices and alumni to create original works inspired by the partnership for billboards around Minneapolis. “We took an art, not ads approach,” says JXTA’s Roger Cummings.
Shop both the boot ($350) and hoodie ($100) on the Juxtaposition Arts website starting January 18 (with 100 percent of proceeds and profit going back to the organization’s educational programming), and keep your eyes peeled for a tour guide of billboard locations, available on Red Wing Shoe’s website. juxtapositionarts.org, redwingshoes.com
by Madeline Nachbar