Please make a no-show Wigwam.
Occupied with what other persons are
Occupied with, and vice versa
And you've become what you thought was dumb
A fraction of the sum
Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the One-star slide in his 1997 article The Coolhunt and he interviewed Dee Dee Gordon about working with Baysie Wightman and how the two women were able to get the now iconic grunge inspired shower sandal into the marketplace. As a fan of the One-star slide I had tried to bring back this shoe around 2008. My idea for bringing back, what was at the time the only sandal Converse had in their archives, wasn’t based on any type of intentional “cool-hunting” but rather a combination of being a shoe I liked, that was comfortable, and being something that wasn’t already flooding the market. In 2006/07 I remember Steven Alan had been carrying Worishofer sandals (grandma shoes) and I was starting to see the slide silhouette around Portland and NYC. Dr. Scholl’s classic slides were also slowly starting to pop up, and Birkenstocks, of course, are now everywhere. It seemed like there were obvious clues that a Converse slide would do well. Using the exact same insight I had used before and had been successful with, a combination of seeing what was not yet available mixed with a bit of intuition, I had re-created several One-star slide concepts.
My intention was to bring back the slide with a slight update, much like what Converse has done with the Chuck Taylor II, it just needed to be cleaned up. When I first presented the idea to my design director he suggested I look at the Visvim Christo, his other suggestion was a button closure . So I came up with 5 or so versions for the updated One-star, inspired by the Christo. And I do really love the Christo, they are in my opinion some of the best man-sandals, but I wanted to stay more true to the iconic Converse slide.
Adding a trim, changing out the material and extending the suede over the heel in the back was all I ended up doing, didn't feel like much else needed to be done - it's a fun shoe to work with. Unfortunately, my concept never even got sampled. So when I found these illustrations on my hard drive it made me wonder what it was I could have done differently....?
Using the Christo for inspiration and having a button on it maybe took the idea too far from the original goal, but I still think the options above could have been pretty good for Converse. It's unfortunate that this didn't make it beyond my desktop, it would have been interesting to see what could have happened to this bring-back as the slide silhouette has grown in popularity in the last 5 years and has become an essential staple for every other sneaker brand.
Below - A quick google search of some of the slides available today.
If I were a marketing person at Puma, NB, Van's etc. I wouldn't collaborate or sponsor someone who isn't loyal to my brand, maybe that's unrealistic, but a person employed by any corporation can't go and do freelance for the competition, most designers and developers have to sign a non-compete, so why wouldn't the same be true for someone who has been given an entire collection to design? Doing a photoshoot wearing competitor product and designing for the competitor aren't the same, but she's still promoting the competition. And I'm using Sophia + Puma as an example, these bad collaborations happen all the time, is it because there's a lack of common sense in this industry or because no one really cares? Consumer loyalty isn't what it was 10 years ago, however, when you're name is on the shoe and you've been paid a lot of money to do what any of the in-house designers could do - the proper etiquette here is to at least pretend you like the brand that's throwing money at you, you're not just a consumer anymore. On the other hand, if she didn't have a contract with Puma then I guess she can work with whomever she wants. I also understand that for a designer it can be a little awkward to wear your own stuff all the time and there are many pictures of Sophia wearing items from her collection, but maybe it was too soon to be flaunting her AM1's? These types of artist collaborations can be huge for relatively unknown NY based artists, and I don't think should be taken lightly. Look at what Sophia's boyfriend, Jeff Staple, has been able to do after his collaboration with Nike, he's milked that pigeon concept to death, so Sophia is definitely getting advice from someone who knows his way around. With that being said, I could be completely wrong here, but lately it seems Puma and Reebok have been wasting money on collaborations that don't matter. Working with the right retailers and offering relevant product is going to be way more beneficial (kinda stating the obvious), and I think in the last few years these brands have done well or at least I really like what Puma and J.Crew have done and what Reebok has available at UrbanOutfitters. I aslo think all the sportswear brands need to trust their own designers more and stop with the random collaborations. There's no point in a collaboration that doesn't help diversify your brand.
I guess it doesn't really matter.....at all. Sophia Chang is great at self-promotion, she's a great leaper (as demonstrated in the picture above) and she can rock a mean bun, but, as an "influencer," she didn't really do what she needed to for Puma.
In 2008, while I was at Converse, I designed this Chuck Taylor iteration and a couple seasons later did a rain boot version.
I was happy to see this post and the comments on Hypebeast with a more modern version of another Chelsea boot by Stone Island.
more chelsea boot sneakers below