It’s one of the most iconic brands in the States – and arguably the world. 2017 marks the Converse All Stars’ 100th anniversary. So what’s so special about Converse sneakers and just who is the legendary Chuck Taylor who lent his name to these classic shoes?
In a recent exclusive interview with Couponbox, Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture said that the All Stars, aka Chuck Taylors, successfully towed the line from basketball sneaker to a fashion icon suitable for both men and women to wear, and that’s what’s made them so popular. They started being worn on popular TV programs and movies in the ’50s and ’60s, cementing their place in mainstream society as a fashion trend in addition to a sports shoe.
Charles Hollis “Chuck” Taylor was an American basketball player turned salesman, who joined the ranks of Converse Shoes in 1921. The Converse All Star was first introduced by the brand in 1917, but Taylor suggested changes to the design that transformed the shoe into the iconic style that’s still used today.
Unsurprisingly, celebrities are among the most fashion conscious among us and in recent years, they’ve set a trend for showing up on the red carpet in their trusty Converse sneakers and other casual footwear, proving that comfort really does triumph, even in the world of the A-lister. Everyone from British star Keira Knightley to Hollywood icon Drew Barrymore has been seen rocking their All Stars on casual days out too. First Lady Michelle Obama has even been spotted sporting the high-top sneakers.
According to Semmelhack, the fact so few changes have been made to the sneaker since Chuck Taylor’s time is what’s added to its longevity. She explained that fashion is ever changing, but “All Stars stands as a kind of beacon of tradition and is therefore linked to ideas of nostalgia and authenticity”.
In fact, when Nike acquired Converse back in 2003, they decided the style they wanted to relaunch was the All Stars. This just meant that a whole new generation of Converse groupies joined the ranks and that quickly reasserted the brand as a cultural phenomenon that everyone had to be a part of.
And, of course, that still continues today and as long as A-listers hit the red carpets in their Converse sneakers, the trend’s unlikely to come to an end any time soon. That’s great news in the lead-up to the All Stars’ 100th anniversary celebrations.
From now until January 2017, you’ll find a whole host of new Converse models in the stores. They’ll still boast the iconic design, but there’ll be special editions to mark this momentous year for the brand. So keep an eye out for any discounts or offers so you can take home your new sneakers –in their timeless style– at a bargain price.