Tracing The Chuck Taylor’s Subcultural Style Legacy

by MR Magazine Staff

The Converse Chuck Taylor’s enduring appeal defies the rules of coolness. It’s literally the most popular sneaker ever made, the great fashion unifier – and yet, despite being everywhere, somehow the iconic shoe remains covetable to pretty much everyone, from fashion’s most discerning critics to style-conscious musicians like Vince Staples or Rejjie Snow. There is perhaps no product quite like the Chuck – ubiquitous, omnipresent but able to command collaborations with Comme des Garçons or the “godfather of Japanese streetwear” Hiroshi Fujiwara. Really, such credibility cannot be manufactured, but as a shoe that’s soon to be celebrating its 100th birthday, how did the Chuck Taylor outlive practically all of its peers to somehow straddle being available at every major footwear store in the country, and yet also remain a firm runway favorite? As with so many iconic designs that have gone on to be adopted by youth tribes and various counter-cultural groups, its charm is its reliable simplicity, its trusty classicism. Its upper is an unchanging blank canvas upon which the wearer can choose to apply any sort of meaning or mantra – in some cases this is taken literally, with people even customizing the shoe’s rubber outsole with scribbles and slogans in marker pen. This openness to interpretation has lent the shoe a rare cross-generational, cross-genre appeal that has spanned from Los Angeles gang-bangers to Seattle grunge-kids, Hunter S. Thompson to the modern-day Hypebeast. As such, it has come to occupy a rare space in the world of fashion, having touched on multiple subcultures whilst managing to transcended fleeting trends. In 2017, it is notable for being the antithesis to trend-led fashion – respite from fashion’s whims in the form of footwear. Read more at Dazed.