Redesigning the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star is a risky proposition. We’re talking about the most classic American sneaker, whose design has gone relatively untouched since 1917. A true shoe of the people.
Think about it. Which other garment is worn by young and old folks alike so prevalently? And in various stages of pristine or tattered? Chucks are like Levi’s 501s for your feet.
And yet: Converse designer Damion Silver was faced with a problem. Foot fatigue was an issue. Especially if you’re trying to wear them every day, All Stars have always been a little hard on your dogs.
EnterLunarlon, Nike cushioning technology.
That’s just one way Silver–a visual artist who shows his own paintings at galleries all over the world–created the Chuck II, a stellar and more comfortable sequel to Chuck Taylor All Star.
We spoke with Silver on the phone at Converse headquarters in Boston proper about shoveling snow, his unrealistic fantasy of one day skateboarding on a frozen golf course–and the pressures of redesigning the brand’s #1 seller worldwide.
The bond between music and style is strong in any situation. But with Twin Shadow and Public School, it’s dang near familial.
Backstage before the Public School show at New York Fashion Week: Men’s, rock star Twin Shadow talked with us about scoring every Public School show so far and what specifically was asked of him for this spring/summer 2016 collection. He was also a model in the show.
New York brand Public Schoolwon the CFDA award for Menswear Designer of the Year in 2014, and since then designers Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow have seen their star explode into a billion suns, gaining popularity for their progressive yet supremely wearable sportswear. Their history as designers for Sean John now seems ancient, and their presentation at #NYFWM was hotly anticipated. It did not disappoint.
Models included stars: style icon Nick Wooster, actor/seller of fine things Waris Ahluwalia (scroll to the end of this post) and musician Twin Shadow, who scored the event with heavy drums and snippets of Gil Scott-Heron. The room was mobbed at 10:30 a.m. and blew up an hour later when fashion/basketball star Dwyane Wade arrived with Gabrielle Union. After that it was a bit nuts; Joe Jonas showed up, other NBA players, a million photographers with blinding flashes.
As the spring/summer 2016 collection hung on models situated in police lineups, each was called forward individually by the voice of God, or maybe a correctional officer through unseen speakers. The impression was very Usual Suspects. Key components were beefier versions of Public School’s iconic, Jordans-meets-brogues sneakers and new baseball hats with metal fasteners on cloth straps in the back.
See more images from the show and backstage below, and click here for an interview with Chow and here for an interview with Twin Shadow.
A new brand for us, Seattle’s CMRTYZ (say each letter) operates in a downtown loft right around the corner from where Nirvana used to play. That would be about one mile south of Nordstrom headquarters. Because we’re 100% in love with CMRTYZ’s punk concert-poster aesthetic,which gets a streetwear twist in our exclusive mini collection of hockey jerseys and T-shirts, we dropped by the studio to learn more about designers CMR (Carlos Michael Ruiz) and TYZ (Ty Ziskis).
Inside, we found artwork and silkscreens on the floor and local punk band So Pitted carefully “hole-ing,” ripping holes in T-shirts for decoration. It made us laugh, looked cool and the band getting paid (“We’re huge fans,” said Ziskis) was a clear example of CMRTYZ’s ethos: support the scene that inspires you.
Nordstrom isn’t carrying CMRTYZ’s hole-y stuff. But there is a rough/degraded quality to our jerseys and tees due to Ruiz’s hand-drawn comics-style illustrations, quick cutouts and images processed via photocopier.
Check our interview below to learn about life-changing album art, how to make a bad impression during a business deal and what happens when the punks take marketing jobs–all filtered through Ruiz’s unique hand-style.
The best party nobody went to might’ve been 12 years ago in Norfolk, Virginia, when producers who would change the sound of hip-hop and R&B deejayed to basically nobody.
We’ll let our music video director friend Shomi Patwary tell you about that one.
Long story short, Patwary and British star Mark Ronson go way back, and we now have the video for “I Can’t Lose.” It’s more zesty funk from Ronson–whom we shall never fail to mention without hyperlinking to his and Aaliyah’s classic Hilfiger ad–and bigger-budget moves from Patwary, best known for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply.”
Check out behind-the-scenes images below from “I Can’t Lose” and an edited transcript of our phone call with Patwary.
We talked about Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Dick Tracy, Blade Runner, the cameo from Waris Ahluwalia–and what happens when the zeitgeist moves post- ‘90s retromania.
With the Fourth of July nigh and men all over wanting to dress for the occasion, check these four different outfits created by our crack team at Studio N–aka the secret warehouse which creates much of our in-house imagery. One overarching guideline from stylist Morgan Dillon:
“Don’t be cheesy. Carry the aesthetic of the holiday in a non-obvious way.”
These images, while being Fourth-focused, are also early peeks at the summer edition of Nordstrom complete looks. What are those, you ask?
Seasonally-fresh outfits which Studio N regularly updates on this sectionof our website. We think you will find them instructional and inspirational. You can sort our complete looks by:
Last time our photography/style team Studio N told us what to wear to the beach, they GIF-ed up an animation that inspired us to mix beach gear with our street clothes, and introduced cool brands like Ambsn.
Now they’re at it again. This time their focus is on the Australian/European/American brand Rhythm. It’s a surfing and a lifestyle brand. We’re especially feeling Rhythm’s floral/stone shorts, above. And we’re not mad at all that the name made us re-listen to DJ Quik’s Rhythm-al-ism.
Check the rest of Studio N’s Rhythm-specific editorial images, below.
Photographer: Matthew Sumi Model: Philip Muscato Stylist: Grace Erdman & Morgan Dillon Art director: Eric Bay Hair & makeup: Tom Pollock