Dubbed ‘NY’s answer to A.P.C.’, Aimé Leon Dore is one of the most original and groundbreaking brands to grace the sneaker scene over the past few seasons. At the helm of this revolution, Teddy Santis, ALD’s founder, innovator and fashion designer has made waves thanks to carefully curated collections and simple but effective design enhancements. Here, we take a closer look at his journey — from his industry-defining moments to his most-loved designs — and discover how Teddy Santis turned his New York-based brand into a worldwide sensation.
45 minutes. That’s how long it took Aimé Leon Dore to sell out its initial run, a feat which garnered instant acclaim and got industry trendsetters talking in 2014. Since then, Santis’ designs have been lauded for their minimalism, quality and uptown-inspired tailoring. From the very beginning, his mission was clear: take everyday staples from the fashion scene and apply his own distinct approach. The result? Elevated essentials heavily influenced by ‘90s, New York. Outside the sneaker-scope, Santis received recognition in the menswear community for his detail-conscious outerwear including hoodies, overcoats, and jackets. His tireless work ethic combined with cutting-edge creativity appealed to the luxury and streetwear market alike.
Fast forward four years and Santis had already launched carefully-curated collaborations with brands like KITH, Puma and Suicoke, to name a few. But it wasn’t for another two years that ALD would embark on its most iconic partnership to date. Enter: Aimé Leon Dore x New Balance. To the delight of sneakerheads around the globe, the brand reworked some of New Balance’s staple designs — from the 997 to the 850 and V4 — bringing a new lease of life to the collection. While these sneakers soared to success, it wasn’t until the re-release of the 550 that the collaboration really took flight. Originally designed as a basketball shoe, Santis put his unique spin on the New Balance 550 and single handedly made it one of the most iconic silhouettes of the century.
After a successful partnership, Teddy Santis was named Creative Director of New Balance’s Made in USA brand in 2021. Almost 13 months into his tenure, the first Santis-designed shoe from the much-awaited collection made its debut in the form of the 990v1, 990v2 and 990v3 silhouettes, with additional styles to be released in the coming months. Like with most things Santis touches, these sought-after shoes were met with immediate approval, as he continues to master superior quality and old-school style. The same is expected for the next collaborative 550 rollout, landing in two OG colourways in autumn this year.
Despite the energy that’s been poured into the New Balance collaboration, Santis hasn’t taken a step back with his own brand — far from it. He continues to pave the way for Aimé Leon Dore, recently opening a flagship store in London. With an extensive portfolio under his belt already, Teddy Santis is soon to be a worthy contender for one of the most accomplished visionaries of the era.