27-year-old Algerian-French model and boxer has officially ventured into sneaker design with a new collaboration with sportswear giant New Balance.
Bendjima joins a roster of some New Balance’s biggest collaborators who have dropped their own take on the brand’s coveted 992 sneaker this year, among them the Virgil Abloh co-signed Montreal-based design studio JJJJound and Ronnie Fieg’s streetwear brand Kith.
Like New Balance’s previous collabs, Bendjima’s iteration is an immediate hit. Released through his Paris-based design studio Studio FY7—whose first drop was Yemen-branded t-shirts in collaboration with artist Kamil Abbas to aid Yemeni charities—Bendjima is giving a major nod to his native country, Algeria, with his latest release.
Taking on the coveted sneaker, Bendjima has unveiled a colourway inspired by the architecture of the desert town of Ghardaïa.
“The suede outer shoe serves as a reflection of the colouration and curvature of the dunes of southern Algeria, which is contrasted by black circular cutaways that symbolize the ancient architecture of Ghardaïa – which heavily influenced the work of Le Corbusier,” reads a statement by Studio FY7. “The shoe is a reminder that no matter where you walk in the world, you can, and should, be proud to carry your history and heritage wherever you go.”
Situated within the Sahara Desert within the M’zab valley and inscribed under the UNESCO Heritage list, the Algerian city of Ghardaïa has long been one of the nation’s hidden gems. But architects, like Le Corbusier, have admired its urban structure for decades (some of which dates back to the early 11th century). The Studio FY7 x New Balance sneaker will release on October 22, exclusively on studiofy7.com.