Plae is tapping some new talent.
The San Francisco-based children’s brand has launched Art of Plae, an ongoing series of limited-edition collaborations with various artists.
The first shoe in the series, dubbed “The Artist” and designed with Arte Sempre, will be available online at goplae.com beginning on June 2. Detailed with a striking black-and-white print, the $75 canvas sneaker comes with a set of Faber-Castell markers so kids can draw and color directly on the shoe, adding their own custom touch.
According to Ryan Ringholz, Plae’s founder and chief designer, the idea for the series stems from the brand’s belief that art and creative expression are an integral part of childhood development. The goal is to create wearable art for kids, he said.
“There is this traditional idea of art being admired yet untouchable in the adult world, but when you put it in the hands of kids, they just run with it — literally, in this case,” Ringholz explained. “Creating a shoe that kids can view as both fun and functional allows for the art of play to take place through the eyes of a child.”
Oliver Black will be the second artist in the series, putting his creative stamp on a capsule collection of three of Plae’s popular silhouettes. The first design is slated to launch at goplae.com in early 2016. To celebrate the collaboration, Black will participate in Plae’s graffiti wall activation at next week’s X Games in Austin, Texas. Set up as an interactive zone, Black will create his whimsical work on a shipping container and invite kids from the crowd to join him in the process.
It’s been a busy few months for Plae. In April, the fledgling brand announced that it had secured $7 million in Series A funding, led by Paris-based Partech Ventures. Since its 2013 launch, Plae has raised a total of $10.8 million in investment funding, allowing the company to expand its global operations as well as invest in new product categories and digital technologies.