Challenge 0: Wearable Storytelling

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Converse, Chucks, Chuck Taylors – it goes by different names depending on the person.

This celebrity among shoes was designed by a company that made galoshes or rubber-based shoes. The company stuck to this foundation when designing its first sneaker. Converse caught its big break as athletic footwear beginning in 1917, donning the feet of many a basketball player in the years that followed. Chuck Taylor was a basketball player turned Converse salesman whose signature on one pair stamped his name on every pair from then on. So popular was Converse among athletes that it is still the number one selling basketball shoe to this day.

But Converse was not content with remaining in the basketball domain forever. It soon branched out and over time took on other identities from rock and roll rebel to fashion icon. Throughout this time, its distinct features and loyal following shielded it from major design changes. The brave souls at Converse who dared to correct the shoe’s imperfections in the 90s were met with fierce resistance, forcing them to bring back beloved features such as inconsistencies in the lower rubber lining. The redesign of the All-Stars in 2015 was also not well-received.

Despite this resistance, tweaks to the design have trickled in over time. Chuck Taylor added more padding. In the 1940s, the all-black version left monochrome behind in favor of white trimmings. 1962 saw the introduction of low-tops, a few years later there were different colors, and so on. These incremental changes bring us to today, where in addition to the original high-top, there are many different styles, colors and patterns to choose from. While it could never completely depart from its classic rubber, canvas and cloth-lace original self, Converse can now mean different things to different people.

Sources:

  • http://mentalfloss.com/article/66917/11-classic-facts-about-converse-chucks
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/07/23/the-new-chuck-taylors-will-actually-be-comfortable/?utm_term=.be36054cb8f5

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