The Consciously Colorful Series takes a look at inspirational brands and products that embrace color. Every week we’ll take you through the history of a brand and when and how they became consciously colorful.
Converse Chuck Taylor’s
When thinking about iconic brands and products that embrace color, few come to mind before the classic Converse Chuck Taylor’s. However, Chuck Taylor’s have a long history before adding colors and even before Chuck Taylor.
The All Star
Converse Rubber Shoe Company was started by Marquis Mills Converse in 1908. In 1917, Oscar Eduardo Reyes, a High School student at the time, designed a shoe he named the All Star. The shoe had a rubber sole and a canvas body and was designed especially for professional basketball players. In 1921, Charles “Chuck” Taylor joined a basketball team sponsored by the Converse Company called The Converse All Stars. Not only did Chuck where the shoes on the court, he toured High Schools across the United States selling them. Quickly basketball players across the league were wearing All Stars.
The shoe was remodeled in 1923 when Chuck Taylor made improvements to the shoe. Soon after, Converse decided to incorporate Chuck Taylor’s name onto the ankle patch that displayed the Converse All Star logo. The original Converse All Star had three main styles – monochromatic shoe with a black canvas body and black rubber soles, an all white show with blue and red trim and an all black leather and rubber shoe.
Athletes began to wear All Stars in the Olympics and during World War II American soldiers began to wear All Stars in training. By the 1960s, the Converse All Star had already become an American icon.
After World War II, Converse decided to make some changes to the appearance of the shoe. They decided to make the toe guard and laces and outer wraps white, creating the iconic black and white Converse All Stars we think of today.
As it says on the Converse website: “In tumultuous times (the 1960s) legends are born – and from a green and white basketball team to a British invasion, from rooftops to afalfa fields, Converse was along for the ride.”
(The rest of the history is taken directly from the Converse website: http://www.converse.com/About/)
Somewhere right around 1974, the All Star sneaker got a little bit of a makeover. Remade in colorful suede with a big, bold star on the side, it was built for basketball—but there was something about its brashness and brightness that would make it irresistible to a generation of rockers, skaters and rebellious souls. Then around ’76 came the Pro Leather, an instant favorite in a time when the game needed a vibe.
First came Grandmama. That was a big deal. Then, in 1996, Converse had a hit on its hands with a basketball shoe called the All Star 2000. It was the first attempt at replicating the Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker for contemporary competition, and there was something about its ankle patch, red midsole stripe and no-nonsense approach to the game that at least 1 million people couldn’t resist.
The brand enters its second century by honoring its heritage of seeing things a little differently, loving people who want to change the world for the better, and basically celebrating the spirit of rebellion and originality in basketball, Rock & Roll and anywhere else you find it.
And there you have it — for now… The best stories are the ones that don’t end — the ones you just keep adding to and adding to — all the while marveling at the creative, disruptive, optimistic, courageous ways things evolve from being what they were, to what they are, to what they will become.