Interview: Joe Freshgoods’ Converse Collection is ‘Not a Bootleg This Time’Release: 17 December 2020
Joe Freshgoods and Converse have teamed up to create a vibrant Pro Leather and Chuck 70, alongside matching apparel, which feature the Chicago-born creative’s trademark soulful graphics, bold lettering, and bootleg styling.
Speaking with Sneaker Freaker ahead of the collection’s release, Joe said, ‘I’m learning about myself the more I work with other people – what I believe in, where I see my career in a few years. So, this is weird having a big global release. It’s a moment for me.’
This isn’t Joe Freshgoods’ first pair of Chucks. He’s been reworking the iconic canvas for years on the streets of Chicago with his own bootleg designs.
‘I used to go to the local sneaker shops, shout out to Saint Alfred and Notre Shop… So it wasn’t really hard for me to get my hands on any pair, but it was a situation where Notre Shop had 13 pairs left, I would just buy them out,’ Joe explains.
‘I needed more, but I couldn’t have access to enough, so they linked me with a Converse rep. I think they’d heard of my name, but people like me wasn’t getting colabs… I’m saying this as humble as possible, when I look at the space, I represent a certain type of person. I’m super real, I’m super honest, to a fault. I keep it real, I’m from the hood, I’m from Chicago. People watched me grow up.’
And grown up he has, as he takes that story global with this stunning collection. While digging through the Converse archive, Joe was coincidentally also researching the first black-owned club in Chicago, which planted the seed for the collection’s psychedelic aesthetic.
‘I just built the collection off my mood board, and then I started doing everything and I was like, “Holy shit. This is a 70s vibe.”’
On the Chuck 70, Joe goes back to where he got his start: creating graphic tees. Using t-shirt-like jersey material, Joe stitches together his origin story with a patchwork collage of different eras. There’s mind-warping tie dye, bold lettering, and airbrushed graphics, which all work together to hero Joe’s eclectic style.
Meanwhile, the Pro Leather tones things down slightly, coming through with a boogie-worthy disco look, smoothly finessed in a luxurious combo of suede and velvet, with embroidered floral details. Corduroy patches hit on the heel, while the purple glitter outsole brings the funk.
Both colourways tell a story of Joe’s past – and deliver a statement of how far he’s come.
‘I started off my career making stuff because I couldn’t afford certain things. I never thought that I was going to be here.’
The six-piece Joe Freshgoods x Converse collection arrives on December 17, dropping via Converse’s webstore.