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Aminé, Zach LaVine, Jack Harlow, and the New Wave of New Balance

With Aminé becoming the latest star to join New Balance as a brand ambassador, Boardroom takes a closer look at the company’s growing roster of talent.

New Balance is putting its foot down as a tastemaker. The Boston-born brand achieved universal status long ago in the sneaker industry, but the stars attached to New Balance solidify that its influence shouldn’t be confined to any particular box. Aminé is the epitome of that shift.

The “Charmander” artist is the newest face of New Balance.

“New Balance is thrilled to announce Aminé as the newest brand ambassador,” New Balance Chief Marketing Officer Chris Davis said in a statement released earlier this week. “As a tremendously talented musician, rapper, singer, and songwriter, we are excited to see his artistry take on a new shape as brand ambassador. At New Balance, we deeply value individuality and take pride in inspiring the next generation of creatives.”

Photo courtesy of New Balance

In the official release, New Balance emphasized that it specifically seeks out “artists, athletes, and culture creators that are fearlessly independent.”

Below, Boardroom breaks down how exactly six of New Balance’s freshest brand ambassadors match that description.

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Aminé

In September 2018, Aminé shared his 10 essential possessions for this episode of GQ’s “10 Things” series. The Platinum-certified “Caroline” rapper and multi-hyphenate discussed his diamond-studded grill, CLBN clothing brand, Louis Vuitton Mille Feux perfume, and Maison Goyard pouch.

Aminé has a strong friendship with frequent New Balance collaborator Salehe Bembury. (Photo courtesy of New Balance)

He held up a pair of white sneakers — unbranded and unassuming with a gold star on the side. “I always think that you should be wearing a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes that you designed or your friends designed that represents something you believe in,” he explained.

If Aminé did another installment of “10 Things” now, though, a pair of New Balance kicks would make the list.

“For anyone that knows me and my style, this partnership feels more than natural,” the 27-year-old said in a statement this week. “I’m very happy to be partnering with people who get it.”

Aminé didn’t abandon his desire to wear his friends’ designs, either. He is close with Salehe Bembury, who has collaborated with New Balance on such standout silhouettes as the 574 Yurt, and an accompanying Fall/Winter 2021 apparel capsule for men and women.

From Portland to the Billboard charts, Aminé has incorporated his real-life interests and experiences into his art. The same can be expected with New Balance. Proof already exists: Check his feet in this teaser clip for November’s TWOPOINTFIVE project.

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine’s Adidas contract expired last October, and the Chicago Bulls All-Star guard revealed his decision to team up with New Balance last month.

“Something that I liked with them is they allowed me to be myself and be creative. That means a lot,” LaVine exclusively told Boardroom‘s Nick DePaula. “To be wanted by a brand such as New Balance with a great history and such a cultural influence right now going on, I think it worked out perfect.”

As the 27-year-old added:

“I’m not scared to do something different. For the guys that they already had on the roster, it aligned with the right culture. Kawhi [Leonard] obviously being the lead guy here, Dejounte [Murray], Jamal [Murray], myself, and Darius [Bazley], it’s been really, really cool to start to understand that this is a really close-knit group and they really care about their players.”

DePaula relayed at the time that LaVine will debut his Two Wxy 2 basketball shoe during the NBA Playoffs later this month — his first time making the postseason since entering the league as a first-round draft pick in 2014. Away from the court, expect New Balance’s 550 lifestyle shoe in LaVine’s rotation.

Jack Harlow

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anybody when Jack Harlow was named an official brand ambassador in February.

The red-hot rapper wore New Balance 574s in high school — long before he put Louisville on the map and ascended to the hip-hop penthouse with “WHAT’S POPPIN.” Harlow’s first verse in the June 2020 “WHAT’S POPPIN (Remix)” boasts, “I got a check from the shoe company / Now I do anything that New Balance say.”

But really, New Balance doesn’t need to tell him to do much. Harlow willingly has NB in his wardrobe.

He wore New Balance sneakers throughout his sold-out Creme de la Creme Tour last year in support of his Platinum debut studio album That’s What They All Say, and he can newly be seen in a white pair of New Balance 550s on the cover of his forthcoming sophomore album Come Home The Kids Miss You.

The 24-year-old played in the New Balance Kawhi 2 “New Money” during the 2022 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game days after he was revealed as a brand ambassador. Who’s to say he won’t have Billy Hoyle wearing them in his forthcoming White Men Can’t Jump film acting debut?

If you’re still not convinced of Harlow’s authentic loyalty, he dropped $1,260 on New Balances on “Sneaker Shopping” in December 2020.

Storm Reid

Zendaya is known for her Euphoria character Rue Bennett’s signature maroon hoodie and Chuck Taylors. On HBO’s zeitgeisty teen drama, Storm Reid plays Gia Bennett, Rue’s anguished and often neglected younger sister.

Gia is rarely not crying on Euphoria — she’s constantly in need of a comforting hug — so it feels satisfying to see Reid in charge of her own narrative with New Balance.

It was announced last October that Reid had signed a multi-year endorsement deal with New Balance. The 18-year-old actress, producer, and USC student opened up to Variety about the partnership:

“It was really organic. I think they saw that I was very inspired by and love fashion and sneakers. They reached out, and we started having conversations. And what I admire about the brand so much is they really tried to get to know me before presenting any type of deal. They just wanted to know who Storm was as a person and as a young person in my philanthropic endeavors. So that meant a lot to have a brand not just want to come to you for you to be the face of a brand, but they really wanted to invest in me and get to know me first.”

Reid is a self-proclaimed sneakerhead, sharing with Variety that she owns over 80 pairs, and with New Balance, she translates her self-interests into widespread representation for other young girls chasing dreams similar to hers.

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff made it to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open before bowing out to eventual champion Iga Swiatek last week. But throughout the tournament, Gauff battled in New Balance.

And earlier in March, the 18-year-old tennis phenom was a prominent part of the marketing campaign for the CT302 shoe as a New Balance athlete:

Gauff has been a New Balance staple since signing with the company at just 14 years old in October 2018. She immediately provided immortal-level product placement through her fairytale 2019 run at Wimbledon, headlined by her historic upset of Venus Williams in straight sets.

Two years later, last August, New Balance unveiled Gauff’s first-ever collection under its umbrella:

When the WTA’s No. 15-ranked player wins her first Grand Slam title, you know what she’ll be rocking.

Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith has infinite drip, and New Balance become an integral piece of it in July 2019 with the brand’s “Runs in the Family” campaign.

The spot introduced Jaden as a brand ambassador, and the following year, the vegan-friendly Jaden Smith Vision Racer silhouette was unveiled.

Jaden is not just a 23-year-old appealing to a younger demographic for New Balance; the actor, activist, and musician is an emerging style visionary. Look no further than the designs for his skate and streetwear clothing brand MSFTS.

Jaden has been donning on stage as an opener on Justin Bieber’s Justice World Tour, but every fit has been grounded in New Balance kicks.

It illustrates a larger point for New Balance. Every brand ambassador is free to express a distinct individual personality. When blended together, they represent attainable, ready-to-wear confidence.

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