Tonight’s opening of the Converse concept store in Santa Monica brought together a few of my favorites: art, music and shoes. True to its following, Converse launched it’s new flagship with an eternally youthful, fashionable, timelessly cool, artistic, athletic and rock & roll crowd. I even spotted top model, Anja Rubik with a mini entourage amongst the mélange.
It’s hard not to write about this experience without sounding like a marketing campaign, but Cons are the OG sneakers that were hip long before any of the other mega shoe brands even existed and they still have the same designs that I remember sports stars running in, playing basketball, soccer/football, and even tennis. Its low-key cool has always been the footwear of choice for many musicians, artists and designers. While many shoe companies and styles have come and gone and colors, laces, finishes and accessories have expanded well beyond the rainbow, Converse (started in 1908) still has its Chuck Taylor “All Stars,” Jack Purcells and “The Weapon” designs in production. (History of Chuck Taylors: http://chucksconnection.com/history1.html.) The new store will feature clothing and the classic shoe favorites, but has in-store “maestros” to help you with any graphic design needs for getting your kicks or threads customized with either a combination of Converse exclusive images or any personal artwork that you bring. There is also an accessories bar with selections of laces, studs and other add-ons.
The interior wall of the concept store will change every six months to showcase a new local artist. The launch mural currently exhibits the work of Jimmy Danko, whose combo of wanderlust meets DIY creativity brings together a positive global community of like-minded peeps with his Gorilla campaign that reminds us to “face your gorilla” and confront self-limiting fear. (Read about the Gorilla campaign: http://www.jimmydanko.com/sticker/.)
The other highlight of this event was music, and Converse didn’t disappoint with the hip-hop fusion vibes of DJ Rashida followed by a fun set from LA based band, Boots Electric, featuring lead Jesse Hughes (of Eagles of Death Metal), Joey Castillo (former drummer of both Danzig and Queens of the Stone Age), guitarist Eden Galindo and beautiful bassist Tuesday Cross. They sounded great performing in the space. Now I’m just looking forward to returning so I can play around with the design tools and make my very own, one-of-a-kind Chuck Taylors.
About Converse: http://www.converse.com/#/about/index.aspx.
History of Chuck Taylors: http://chucksconnection.com/history1.html.
Wikipedia Converse: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Converse_(shoe_company).
Jimmy Danko: http://www.jimmydanko.com/.
Boots Electric: http://www.boots-electric.com/.
DJ Rashida: http://www.myspace.com/djrashida.
LA Canvas blog review: http://www.lacanvas.com/blog/?p=3206.
*Contact Converse for consideration as a local artist for the instore mural: Brad Kearns at Bradley.Kearns@converse.com