Converse’s Vice President of footwear, Brandis Russel says converse welcomes collaboration, new thought, new vision, new purpose, new energy and new intention.” She continues to say that “An important value of Converse is one that respects, honours and wants to continue to foster creativity. Inviting in the collective genius continues to breed innovation for us.”
American based reselling site, Stock X, ranked Converse in 4th place for most resold sneakers. However, of Converse’s top ten bestselling sneakers on the secondary market, nine of them were collaborations. With an average price premium of 30%, the lowest in the top seven of the list, the iconic silhouettes are an accessible way to venture into hype and high fashion.
2020’s big collaborations were the long time running ‘heart shoes’ with COMME des GARÇONS Play, the striking silhouettes of Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH, military-chic with Fear of God and Tyler the Creator’s subversive Golf le Fleur line. 2021 sees even more collaborations incoming, from runway darlings Rick Owens and Kim Jones, hyped creators such as Chinatown Market and Space Jam, the iconic Keith Haring, DIY darlings Nicole McLaughlin and Bandula, and so many more.
“Our brand has been a positive agitator in really critical moments in culture. Today we want to assure that our creative impulse, and that of our partners, has an intention attached to it.” - Brandis Russel
The best collaborations of 2021 (so far)
Converse x Bandalu
Art first streetwear brand, Bandulu, made a name for themselves elevating branded garments to their canvas. Their now iconic paint-splatter embroidery graces a piece of basketball heritage, the Pro Leather.
Converse x SOULGOODS
Beijing based SOULGOODS brings their iconic tiger motif to the chuck 70, in line with their concept of "From Beijing To The World, the tiger ‘transmits positive energy’ to invite good luck in while driving off evil spirits.
Converse x COMME des GARÇONS Play
Probably the greatest sneaker collaboration of all time gets a much needed, albeit subtle, upgrade. The ‘play’ motif emblazoned Chuck 70 low and high tops, affectionately and disparagingly called the ‘heart shoes’ come in two new seasonal colours, blue and grey.
Converse x Kim Jones
Dior’s creative director, Kim Jones, has had a long history of footwear collaborations, from Dior, to Nike and even Stussy. The Chuck 70 is given a 1990’s inspired make over, breathing new life into the silhouette while remaining true to its soul.
Converse x Telfar
Telfar Clemens takes an androgynous look at basketball style, sportswear is made inclusive and cutting edge. The Pro Leather Slip-On stands out as an innovative, versatile and truly soulful piece of the collection. The hybrid shoe blurs the line between basketball and ballet but retains a unisex and universal style.
Converse x Carhartt Work In Progress
The on-going collaboration with skatewear-workwear brand Carhartt Wip is continued with a premium Chuck 70 Hi. The appropriation of workwear by various subcultures is referenced through the use and repurposing of hardwearing materials, such as canvas and denim while archetypical WIP details such as camouflage uplifts utility to uniqueness.
Converse x Keith Haring
The New York based artist and activist, Keith Haring, has posthumously become ubiquitous with streetwear. His ‘doodle figures’ and socio-political commentary grace an apparel and footwear range that is an accessible entry into the streetwear scene.
Converse x Rick Owens DRKSHDW
The designer’s continued reverence for the Chuck Taylor All Star, and borderline plagiarism, the TURBODRK Chuck 70 is the offspring of Owen’s Ramones and the classic converse silhouette. The design is defined by an elongated tongue and a square toe, a vulcanised sole accents the shoe’s bearing.