For its biggest advertising campaign in years, Converse has ditched the glossy, posed images of models and pristine product and instead turned its camera on the well-worn and well-loved sneakers of famous — and some not-so-famous — people.
The “Made by You” campaign, which debuted today, features real-life Chuck Taylors collected from global icons such as Patti Smith and Andy Warhol, as well as writer Glenn O’Brien, Maxim editor Kate Lanphear and graffiti artist Futura.
The brand says the ads are meant to be a “celebration of creative individuals, their stories and their sneakers. Whether they are hand-painted, covered in mud or worn out with holes, each Chuck Taylor All Star portrait tells a deeply personal story.”
Futura’s beat-up sneakers (shown) feature splatters of paint from one of his many creative projects. “I don’t remember where I was wearing them, but I must’ve been painting in them somewhere,” the artist told Footwear News in an exclusive conversation.
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He noted that his attachment to Cons, as he calls them, goes way back. “Wearing the shoes, that was something I did growing up in New York. I’m going back 40 years,” he said. “Nothing here is forced. This is an organic thing.”
Futura estimated that he has about eight dozen pairs of Converse sneakers in his closet. “The black-and-white style is my favorite,” said the artist, who has documented his Chucks in photos around the world, from Casablanca and Tokyo to Havana. “It’s hard to describe your affection for certain sneakers. When you get older, you’re not trying to compete and get the newest shit. At some point, I got tired of that. I just wanted to wear what I loved.”
All the portraits of the sneakers will appear in multi-channel ad placements alongside shoes from everyday fans of the brand. Nike-owned Converse will also orchestrate exhibitions in New York City, London, Beijing and Mexico City and offer consumers the chance to take part in pop-up portrait studios at Converse retail locations around the world.