Despite not being a name that comes up every day in the Highsnobiety office, ECCO’s pioneering footwear technology is widely appreciated among staff as being some of the most comfortable out there. So when the bold new ECCO BIOM C dropped on our desks — a sneaker that looks vastly different from what we’re used to seeing from the brand — we wanted to find out more.
Designed to take people from the city streets to the great outdoors, the BIOM C is the result of 10-plus years of experimentation following the invention of ECCO’s pioneering BIOM sole technology in 2009.
Inspired by those who combine the adventure of outdoor running and the calm of yoga with their late-night creative hustle and passion for the dancefloor, BIOM C stands for the veteran playing the young man’s game, the passionate creative fighting for their beliefs, and the teen experienced beyond their years. It’s about the mix of passions, interests, and pursuits that define the diversity of this generation’s multifaceted individuals.
Until now, BIOM has been a purely functional feature, a lightweight sole with a unique anatomical design. But with the arrival of BIOM C, and for the first time, ECCO is implementing the tech in a statement sneaker that falls directly in line with the current fashion zeitgeist. Clad in four striking colorways with a chunky, gorpcore-ish outsole, the silhouette proudly displays its utilitarian elements as part of its unique aesthetic.
And the scene is perfectly set for just a sneaker. In the melting pot world of streetwear, what was once a battleground of style tribes separated by difference, is now a community of individuals united by a shared passion for quality and style. It's a world that supports the individual in creating their own path and it's a time when fortune favors the bold. This message runs through our short film with five contemporary creatives who are making their voices heard above the noise in our constantly connected digital age. Their stories are the story of the ECCO BIOM C.
Ayesha Tan Jones, Joel Palmer, Kish Kash, Aria Shahrokhshahi, and Nayana champion individualism and self-determination, each defining their own uniquely important paths. It's an essential approach in today's day and age when standing out for the right reasons is becoming harder and harder and hype is often valued over legacy. “We are but our thoughts and our opinions. We are our morals," explains Shahrokhshahi. "And by walking in your own shoes, you get to decide what those opinions, what those thoughts and what those morals are.”
For Shahrokhshahi, this has taken him from his hometown in Nottingham, England to The Gambia, Arizona, Kyoto, and other locations that have given him the opportunity to hone his craft as a photographer and get to know distinct individuals and communities around the world. For model and creative director Joel Palmer, on the other hand, his journey has led him inward. Performance, style, and beauty have helped him to explore his identity and discover who he wants to be while inspiring others to do the same. “To me, self-expression is like a form of art," he explains. "I think everyone should just find a way to do something different. Don't be afraid to just delve deep into yourself and find out more about yourself."
A message that runs through all of the creatives' stories is that unaccompanied, individualism can be a lonely journey and feeling apart of something bigger than oneself can be a powerful motivating force — both Shahrokhshahi and Palmer are a testament to this idea. “When we get messages from young, black guys or young people of color or young gay men that are sending us thank you messages for helping them either come out or helping them explore themselves... that is just enough for me to feel like yeah, okay I'm doing something right and I'm doing okay. And it keeps me going,” explains Palmer. Coming back to the ethos of BIOM C, it's about individuals uniting over shared passions and celebrating on another's one-of-a-kind identities.
“I think community is so incredibly intrinsic to human beings. I think we need community. I think we not only want community, but we need it. We need it to survive, to function and to document it is incredibly interesting.”
Ayesha Tan Jones runs community projects with this goal in mind, aiming to bring people together by creating safe, comfortable happenings that double as space of self-discovery — both for those that visit and, in the process, for Jones as well. “I think community’s really important for any creative, because you're creating work, and it needs to be received,” Jones explained. “For you to — especially as a queer person who's making work that is often about identity or about our experience — to have a community that also feels and understands those emotions and those feelings, and getting that feedback loop of seeing how your work does affect people and inspire people is super important, and it's inspiring.”
Kish Kash is a longstanding member of a different community: the sneaker community. Coming from a time when sneaker culture wasn’t understood as it is today, the radio presenter had to walk his own path for a long time: “back in the day, there was no such thing as sneaker culture. It was just an aspect of our everyday look.” But, now, he believes sneakers are a language spoken by all. “It's now a universal way that we can break down the barriers between each other. When you have that then you have a bond and when you've got a bond you're stronger as a community. It's important that we have these networks brought together by our passions. It's a beautiful thing.” Kish Kash alludes to an important point. We all have a shared desire to express our individuality and in doing so, whether it's through the language of style, dance, or something else, we're united around our commonalities and in spite of our differences.
“It's all about individuality and individualism. Especially in a world of conformity.”
For singer-songwriter Nayana, bringing together individuals and celebrating differences has been a successful formula. Her music collective NiNE 8 is a conglomerate of independent artists each on their own journey, but collaboration and community help them to grow. “We all have our different sounds but they all come together really well even though we're so different,” she explains. “I literally put all my faith into this group and now look where we are.” It's clear, according to Nayana, that collective individualism requires trust, but her and her crew are evidence of the playoffs.
Nayana asks, “Are you gonna ride the wave or are you gonna make the wave yourself?” And, on this front, ECCO makes their position clear. Marrying the highest quality footwear technology and materials with a bold fashion-forward aesthetic, the BIOM C is a testament to both form and function. It doesn't sacrifice it's individually fundamental parts for the sake of the whole and, as a result, ECCO puts legacy before hype, not pandering to our "15 minutes of fame" culture.
Find out more about Ayesha Tan Jones, Joel Palmer, Kish Kash, Aria Shahrokhshahi, and Nayana over on Instagram and visit ECCO's online store to find out more about the BIOM C which is available now in stores including Tokyo's mita sneakers, Copenhagen's Illum and K-9, and Amsterdam's W-21.