by Robyn Yager | The most recognized shoe in the world? It’s got to be the classic Converse “Chuck Taylor” All Stars, also known as “Chucks”. The Converse company was founded by Mr. Marquis Mills Converse in Massachusetts in 1908, but the iconic sneaker didn’t make its first appearance until 1917 with the aim of breaking into the emerging basketball shoe market. Charles Taylor, a basketball player and promoter, redeveloped the All Star design and became the official spokesperson for the shoe in the 1920’s, giving rise to its nickname (his name in scripted on the ankle patch). “Chucks” have made lasting style impressions on just about every generation since their inception, showing up on the feet of American athletes at the 1936 Olympic Games, heart throbs like Marlon Brando and James Dean, Fred Savage in the Wonder Years, Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, C. Thomas Howell and Ralph Macchio in The Outsiders, Bruce Springsteen, Kristin Stewart, and a great many others (even Harry Potter). Close to a billion pairs have been produced. And yet, despite their ubiquity, the shoes – available in high top or low – have anchored various artist and designer collaborations. These have seen the shoe irreverently paired with John Varvatos, Missoni, artist Kevin Lyons, and the late Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. French style blogger and illustrator Garance Dore pretty well nailed it for me when she wrote about her love affair with the sneaker on her blog: “Since I can’t spend my entire life in six inch heels…white Converse are my sole salvation.” It also doesn’t hurt that they’re cheap, usually between $40 and $70 a pair…
Find yours at…
Gravity Pope (2205 West 4th Avenue)
Camoflage Army Surplus (888 Granville Street)
El Kartel (1007 Granville Street)
Haven (7 Goaler’s Mews, Gastown)
Livestock (239 Abbott Street – Gastown; 1709 West 4th Avenue)
Robyn Yager is the style reporter for Scout Magazine. She runs The Rain Season blog and is enthused by anything out of the ordinary. She loves art, striped shirts, macchiatos, classic literature and picking through thrift stores for unique treasures. Her mission is to inspire Vancouverites in their sartorial choices and to see beauty and style everywhere.