December 18, 2013 BY Sneaker News / 9
At 105 years deep in the game, Converse is a brand that’s been around longer than pretty much any of the others that we cover here on Sneaker News. The fact that they are over a century old means that, in some respects, they’ve got more work to do in 2013. It means that many of its staple models were first put into production when your parents or even grandparents were still in grade school, so those models have at this point become cultural icons with a much more static and general identity than hyped silhouettes by adjacent brands. How then, are they to create energy and excitement around hallmarks like the Chuck Taylor or the Jack Purcell when they’ve already been issued in so many iterations for so many years now?
The answer for Converse this year involved some creative inline collections as well as some shrewd team ups with increasingly unlikely partners. They went high fashion with Comme des Garcons and Margiela and over to the Far East with CLOT and Neighborhood. They let a line of hotel chains have a stab at the Pro Leather, and they even gave a two-pack to a marquee name in Canadian blankets. It was through projects like these, along with a small sprinkling of more traditional joint ventures with artists, brands and sneaker shops, that the All-Star brand was able to make big noise across the past 12 months amd keep their tried and true classics in the limelight and still going strong.
Jay Z approved. One of the world’s trendiest hotels showed up with not one but two Converse Pro Leather styles this year.
Rei Kawakubo’s diffusion line continues to blow up. This partnership went all over in 2013 via some high and low Converse Pro Leathers.
The Taylor Gang is finally made official with this ambitious collection designed for Pittsburgh’s favorite Converse repper.
These sneaker collab veterans have both been around the Converse block together before. This time around, it was a low-cut Chuck that received a little bit of Undefeated’s signature military flavor.
This time the All-Star brand linked up with the oldest corporation in North America for some colorful blanket style Jack Purcells.
Margiela for the masses? Yes, they were colored Chuck Taylors dipped in white paint – if you didn’t get it, then it wasn’t for you.
On the eve of their 20th anniversary year, Neighborhood teamed up with Converse for the first time with a sleek tonal take on two different models.
CLOT got all Qing Dynasty on us with these traditional Chinese-flavored Chucks. Check out the knotted button sets on the side.
The Converse Aero Jam made its second retro return in 2013, reminding us all of the Larry Johnson “Grandmama” era and a time when the brand was a formidable competitor in the performance basketball market.
The Tribe follows up their patchwork Converse Pro Leather trio from last year with some slick Chuck Taylor designs featuring tonal uppers lying beneath an embossed croc pattern.