Converse and A-COLD-WALL*: old school classics and new-age modernity, NBA nostalgia and streetwear innovation — this collaboration brings together the best of two disparate worlds and fuses them into something more. Because for all that separates Converse and A-COLD-WALL*, there is plenty that brings them together. Not just an interest in function and performance but a shared enthusiasm for understanding the connection between culture and clothing, how everyday environments seep into what we wear.
It’s no surprise therefore that among the key references for this collection, which comprises two tracksuits alongside revisited Chuck Taylor and ERX shoe styles, Ross’ personal memories and lived experience shines through.
“One of my earliest memories of Converse is owning a pair of navy All Stars at age fourteen. I was traveling to the Caribbean a lot and took those shoes on numerous hikes and across mountain trails,” says Ross. “So, the experience of my childhood effected this idea of changing the All Star into something that is more hard-wearing. You have a mix of cultural experience overlayed with A-COLD-WALL*s opinion on how footwear should operate.”
The experience of those mountainous hikes, traversing rough and rocky footpaths in shoes designed for the smooth polish of a gymnasium, is at the heart of Ross’ thinking. A quick glance at his interpretation of the Chuck 70 confirms as much. With its cast panels and gusseted tongue, the iconic basketball shoe’s profile is beefed up to emphasise durability and protection, the type of footwear you could imagine partnering well with a hazmat suit. A reinforced heel drives the sci-fi industrial mood home.
For the tracksuits, Ross approaches each design with his signature perspective on function. One, a kind of homage to the NBA warm-up tracksuits of the 90s, is made from rip-stop nylon (the stuff they make parachutes from) and offers a breathability that Ross can appreciate from his own ball-playing days. The other is more of an A-COLD-WALL* distillation, an asymmetric, experimental piece of panels and zips that Ross claims offers, “a purist vision” of his brand.
The Converse x A-COLD-WALL* collection releases at a-cold-wall.com on September 14, 2020, and at Converse.com and select retailers on September 17, 2020.