The Story Of The Converse Archive Print
In celebration of the iconic Chuck Taylor All Star that continues to shape history, this year has seen Converse reintroduce an array of decorative patterns across hi-top and low-top silhouettes that date back to 1983 and demonstrate the brand’s rich archive which has had a significant impact upon pop culture.
Located in Lovejoy Wharf in Boston, the Converse archive dates back to 1908 when Marquis Mills Converse founded the brand with a vision to create an independent rubber company using his experience of working in the industry. First known for designing tennis shoes, attention quickly turned to a focus on canvas basketball footwear which included key elements such as vulcanized soles and signature All-Star patches which referenced the brand’s ambassador, salesman and basketball coach Charles H. “Chuck” Taylor. The aesthetic was simple yet influential with single colour options that became progressively more vibrant through the years and resonated within pop and teen culture thanks to stars such as Elvis Presley, The Ramones and Robert Plant.
Inspired by an army jacket, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that Converse introduced their own unique green and brown camouflage pattern to its famous hi-top All Star model which brought a brand new look to the classic silhouette. Appealing to a whole new market who were seeking more flare and characteristic footwear, animal prints soon followed in 1988 with zebra, giraffe and leopard variations which, alongside camouflage, are considered Converse’s most iconic patterns.
This year premium materials such as leather and durable canvas have helped to reestablish these significant designs across styles such as the CTAS 70’s Hi Archive Print Leather Shoes and the low cut Converse One Star Ox Archive Print Remixed Shoes, in addition to modern updates such as Nike Zoom Air insoles and Ortholite sockliners that improve comfort and of course the benefits and reputation of vulcanised construction haven’t been forgotten. Similarly bright bursts of bold lime bring new life to leopard print across the CTAS 70’s Ox Archive Print Shoes which have been built with contemporary CONS traction rubber.
Historically an athletic shoe built with a unique stitching pattern, the streamlined Converse Lucky Star has stood the test of time since being an icon of the ‘60s through continual re releases with almost no changes made - if it ain’t broke don’t fix it as they say. Whilst the driftwood tone leopard pattern may be similar to other models, the Lucky Star stands out from the Chuck Taylor with piped edges and a distinctly old school circular patch on the inner ankles which complement the decorative monochrome rubber heel tab.
Reinterpreted in DIY style variations and British reworks that proudly express the wearers origins or taste in music, it wasn’t until 1991 that Converse introduced stars and references to the American flag into their selection. The One Star Academy Ox Archive Print Remixed Shoes bring a certain modern touch to this idea with navy suede uppers, embroidered white stars and cut out star shaped mid sections that reveal an enamel red underlay and slim white canvas stripes on either side. The latest print to be introduced as part of the archive collection is the flame which portrays motorcycle connotations in vinyl printed thermal and rainbow variations to transform both hi-top and low-cut models.
Renowned for their ability to maintain the core elements of their celebrated footwear styles, the beauty of each print design from Converse is that they are rich with historical references that solidify their impact within each era whilst still being appealing today. Unafraid of expressing their creative international following through various collaborations and innovative projects such as the Archive, Renew and Golf Le Fleur line Converse strongly believe in personal expression and are proud to offer an array of designs that make it easy to do so.
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