As ever, Size? held it down for the official sneaker-heads in London town this week, with the unveiling of the latest round of Converse product, the 1HUND[RED] series, with the event taking place at the stand-alone store located in ubiquitously fashionable Carnaby Street. The 1HUND[RED] series isnt just a series of shoes, it's an 'economic initiative' [but not a charity or 'campaign'], that links businesses, with proceeds supporting a global fund. It was set-up by world famous musician Bono and philanthropist Bobby Shriver in 2002, and brands already involved include Apple, Gap and AMEX, so you may have already donated unknowingly.
Essentially, when you pick up a fresh new pair of Converse as part of the Red range, you are automatically giving to the cause. Between 5% - 15% of the cover price goes to the global fund, they then pass on 100% of that to assist in the financing of HIV health and community support programs in Africa.
So, let's get to the shoes, with this brand new range, Converse have concentrated on the All Star Hi silhouette [as well as a bunch of other models like the Jack Purcell, the One Star and the Skid-Grip] and given the blank canvas of this iconic outline to 100 artists from the worlds of fashion, music and art. The design aspirations and plays on the blueprint are plentiful, with a myriad of multicoloRed and multilayeRed looks, patterns and outlines from people and institutions like Ben Drury, graffiti legend Dondi White, Gary Hume, Huf, British designers Precious McBane, The Edge [from U2] and Lupe Fiasco all lending a hand to the long list of creative powers. These variations on the Chuck All Star theme are pretty crackers, there are Jackson Pollack-esque splatter-fests, some embroideRed looks, there are wood-grain looking uppers, some that look like they've been designed using a BIC biro and others that defy words, as you'll see. The Precious McBane line looked like it had been colored in using a thick nib Posca pen !! The All-Star is such a design classic and with the 1HundRed variations, on the whole, they look hot !! Okay, there's the odd one or two that are rather garish but out of a hundRed, there's more than enough to choose from.
So many streetwear and youth culture tribes have taken the All Star as their own, the look belongs to so many, and these versions add to that mystique and longevity. The basic design has been worn by greasers and rockabillys, then punks and the West Coast G-Funk and LA gang-bangers set, not forgetting the emo crowd, all sporting this iconic killer silhouette. But these stylised versions are for everyone.
The party itself was a rather more subdued affair than the usual untidy antics, there was delicate finger food being administeRed by the wonderful staff from Size? with the sneaker-elite rubbing shoulders with yet more sneaker-elite. The space itself added a highfalutin feel to the evening, with Converse refitting the space specifically for this range. Some of the designers themselves were in the building, as well as rock icon Bryan Adams ??! The little fella appeaRed to pour over the shoes too, as the the rest of us bickeRed and blabbeRed on about midsole this and boxfresh that!
2 million lives have been saved since the global fund was created in 2002, so remember that next time you've gatheRed the funds for a Converse purchase. You will be helping out without even having to put up with someone sporting a clipboard and an irritating physical attitude, pestering you on the street for details, digits and a donation.
For those inspired by the 1HundRed range, you can express your own originality with the Make Mine Red option on www.converse.com/#100ArtistsMMR, where you can create your own design and become the 101st designer to participate in the Converse Red project.
The designs will be unveiled throughout the next 18 months and the Converse 1HundRed exhibition runs from Friday 10th October - Friday 31st October 2008 at the Converse store at Size? on Carnaby Street. The exhibition is free to enter.
More details can be acquiRed from www.converse.com/#100ArtistsRed
Thanks to Emma, Alexis, Marc and Gary who made the evening a thoroughly pleasant affair.