In the 1970s, Converse effectively cemented its place in performance footwear history through the release of the Converse Pro Leather. Gracing the feet of some of basketball’s greatest stars of the era, the model will take front and center in an upcoming Fall/Winter 2012 First String Pro Leather collaborative collection. Featuring five different entities, Stüssy NYC is first up with a patchwork appropriation of the iconic silhouette. To help break down the initiative, we spoke with Stüssy NYC’s Senior Manager Leo Vergara for a little background regarding his thoughts on the Pro Leather and their own unique design. The Stüssy NYC for Converse First String Pro Leather releases August 25. Priced at $128 USD, the shoes will be limited to 125 pairs in total.
Can you introduce yourself and your title and role at Stüssy?
Hi, my name is Leo Vergara. I’m the Senior Manager at the Stüssy NYC store.
What is it about the Converse Pro Leather that you respect?
The first time I really noticed the Converse Pro Leather shoes was as a kid watching Larry Bird in a Sports Illustrated commercial on my parents’ busted Zenith TV. I respected that he was one the best basketball players of his time, along with Dr. J, and they were both guys who were playing in the best basketball sneakers of the time. Converse is an American icon that’s been around for over a hundred years, so it was a great experience and a true honor to be invited to create my own interpretation of the Pro Leather.
How does this experience differ from any previous footwear projects you’ve done?
The process can take some time with product creation and with this one we really took the time to get it right. In the initial stages of the design, we faced some challenges in executing the patchwork concept. We really wanted to make it perfect and thankfully through great teamwork, we were able to get it right.
What was the theme you were basing the design around?
We wanted to do something that we felt reflected New York. We’ve always been big on Americana so doing a patchwork shoe really made sense. We drew influence from a clothing obsession rooted in the early ’90s. Many people would say that this era laid the foundation for urban wear with patchwork, sailing, hunting and native American themes figuring prominently.
What was the process of determining the patchwork included in the shoe?
Converse First String uses the best materials out there. They have an amazing cache of choices and several material specialists. In fact, the choices were so vast, it felt like the options of materials and alterations were limitless, so it was hard to settle on any. Once we did decide on the materials we took a Pro Leather shoe and literally stuck the materials to the shoe with adhesive. We wanted to make sure that each material complimented each adjacent one and most importantly the American flag had to be at the bottom corner, as it would have the greatest visual impact there. The final step was creating samples of the actual shoe. After the second round, we had just what we wanted.
176 Spring St.
New York, NY 10012