Converse are a brand built on heritage. Although they are highly relevant in the contemporary footwear industry, the majority of the silhouettes we know and love today have a long and storied history. For example, the Chuck Taylor – one of the most widely recognisable shoes on the market – has over 100 years of heritage behind it, and the Converse One Star has remained roughly the same since the 1970’s.
The brands latest offering, The Converse Lucky Star, is no different. The Lucky Star was first introduced in 1967 under the name Chuck Taylor Lucky Star, however despite sharing a name and similar shape with its predecessor, that’s where the similarities end.
The Lucky Star was almost entirely different in its construction, featuring a unique toe bumper, a durable Army Duck upper and full-length sponge in-sole. The Lucky Star High and Lucky Star Oxford, both featured a refined and more Americanised take on the classic Chuck Taylor shape and wore the brands collegiate influences far more overtly. The Converse Lucky Star High collection will be available online from Saturday 8th of December, sizes range from UK6 – UK11 (including half sizes), with prices ranging from £65 – £70.
Converse’s strong understanding of the past makes them the go-to brand for those who appreciate clean, classic design. And with the brand reaching into their vault to release another perfect example of this, we felt it only right to speak to some of these people and get their thoughts on brands longevity.
Will Kemp and Ryan Barr are two members of The Drop Date, a collective turned company who dedicate themselves to providing all the need to know info about trainer releases here in the UK, and across Europe. Safe to say Will and Ryan know what they’re talking about, and as well as being huge fans of trainers in general, both happen to Converse connoisseurs. We sat down with Ryan and Will at Drop Date HQ to find out more about the company and get their first impressions of the Lucky Star Collection.
Footpatrol: Firstly, can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about The Drop Date?
Ry: Hi, I’m Ry, co-founder of The Drop Date. A website and social presence – and the original authority in our field – providing the consumer with the what, where and when on all limited edition trainer & apparel releases throughout the UK & Europe. Basically, we’re a bunch of likeminded friends, working with product and people we love, and as our strapline states, we’re dedicated to Organising The Chaos.
Will: I’m Will, Creative Director for The Drop Date and our in-house agency Generation Works. I met Ry many moons ago when I was working at Bond International, a legendary store near the OG Footpatrol location that had helped pioneer streetwear in the UK way back before the Internet exploded everything. Ry was part of the Crooked Tongues forum and I’d catch up with him when he was in town for the CT BBQs and other events. Then a little while ago I came on board with The Drop Date to help it branch out into clothing and to build our creative agency, which produces work for our own site as well as a host of external clients in the footwear and fashion worlds.
FP: Do you both remember your first pair of Converse?
Ry: Honestly, I never bothered with Chucks until the 70s came along. The standard All Stars do nothing for me. The Lakers colourway of the Converse Weapon were the first Cons I owned.
Will: I had a bright green pair of the standard Chuck Hi that I got as hand-me-downs from my brother in the early ‘90s. I wore them every day in the hope that they’d make me look like Kurt Cobain. They didn’t.
FP: You now both have big collections of Chuck 70’s – Ry you arrived having everything in the boxes whereas Will you had a lot of worn pairs all bunched together. How do you feel a pair of Converse can tell a person’s individuality and style?
Ry: Chucks can be worn with any outfit, and therein lies the success of the shoe, I guess. Doesn’t matter how you dress, rock a pair of Chucks and it always look good, and there’s only a few shoes that can boast that.I’m still scratching my head as to how Will treats his Chucks, I mean, for a guy with such OCD levels, whats that all about?… Made me laugh.
Will: I just wear them. The first time shoes began to have any importance for me was when I started skating in my teens, and I’d have one pair that I skated to death until they were 90% shoe glue, then one pair I kept nice and clean until the other ones fell apart. It’s the same with Chucks; say with the Parchment 70s, I have one completely box fresh pair then 2 or 3 in various stages of decomposition due to rain, falling over, my kids jumping on them etc. I’m a massive hoarder usually, but Chucks are so wearable I can’t get hung up on keeping them pristine in their boxes.
FP: I have heard you are both very particular about the license plate on the back of a pair of Converse, can you please elaborate?
Ry: I’ll leave this one to Will. He’s always in my wake, so sees the plate way more than me… ha!
Will: Ry is jealous because I have more pairs than him. The license plate is such a weird branding device – it should look terrible but somehow it works and I feel strangely fond of it as a result. But I do really like it when it’s tonal.
FP: Ry I have noticed you have an original pair of Snakeskin Chuck 70’s and a pair from the more recent release. Can you let us know about the importance of this shoe to you?
Ry: It’s the most important for me by far, as the Year Of The Snake editions really kicked off the 70s revolution, and they look so good!… Mates got seeded them, but I hunted a pair down when I missed then at retail, as it was such a tight drop through the select First String retailers. It was one of the toughest missions I’ve had to date, but well worth the effort and such a relief to tick them off the list.
Our good friend Gary Warnett was a big advocate of the 70s, and the YOTS editions in particular, and I’ll always remember a text convo he showed me between him and a then employee of the brand, discussing how they needed a reissue. And I think its fair to say, if G hadn’t pushed for it, it would never have happened. They are different to the OG YOTS, but I had to have them for that reason. Converse never really pushed the reissue, and if he was here, the rant would last for days, which always makes me smile. RIP G.
FP: Will, I know you have said how you like to put your pairs through the washing machine and dye them yourself. Can you elaborate on how this makes them better for you personally?
Will: I’m a size 10, which makes me self-conscious because that’s the point at which trainers can start to look like clown shoes. I ended up having to put a few pairs of chuck 70s through the wash (cold wash only or the glue will melt), and I really liked the way they shrink up ever so slightly afterwards as it fits my feet better. Plus the colours get nicely faded out which looks beautiful against the contrast stitching, especially on something like the pink and blue tie-dye pair which were way too flamboyant for me in their original state.
FP: A Chuck 70’s is a relatively simple shoe but with so many iterations and material make ups they have remained relevant to today. What do you think it is that has helped them to remain so popular to this day?
Ry: Personally, I think its exactly that fact that you mention. There’s something for everyone, no matter what your style, and I hope there’s plenty more to come.
Will: It’s the perfect antidote to hype. The design is so simple that they work with everything, and it’s one of those models where the everyday general release versions are better than most of the high-profile collabs. There’s not that many other trainers you could wear to a date but also to a funeral.
FP: In your line of work you guys are constantly being exposed to the latest footwear, what is it that keeps you guys interested in Converse considering the design of many of the silhouettes have remained largely the same since they were introduced?
Will: For me, the unchanged design is the whole appeal. With the sheer number of trainers released each week, you stop seeing the individual products to a degree and it all begins to blur into a predictable series of trends and takedowns. And when so much of the market seems so uninspired, the things that really stand out are the genuinely groundbreaking new designs on one hand, and the true classics on the other.
These days a lot of people dress like some kind of human Buckaroo, just piling on as many different hype brands and logos as possible. Personally I’m interested in clothes rather than fashion, and shoes rather than trends. When I see someone wearing a strong pair of Converse, it signifies that they care more about good design than trying to impress strangers.
Ry: So much of the latest footwear is bullshit, and that includes a fair few new shoes from Converse too, but their core offerings, like the the Chuck 70s hold their own. Although the price point is slightly higher than the normal All Stars, the are far more comfortable, and durable too. I’ve converted many people from the standards to the 70s, even my mum. I say stick to what you know Converse, but brands have to evolve in order to find new customers, and I understand that.
FP: What were your first impressions of the Converse Lucky Star?
Ry: Personally, I really like it now, and suits my style and wardrobe. My good mate John, your boss, didn’t shut up about them when we first saw them, and he knows his shit. I wasn’t sure at first, but the more we talked about them, the more he convinced me. So I’m sold and looking forward to adding a few to the collection.
Will: I was a bit anxious. It’s as if someone threatened to change your favourite recipe. But I liked the Lucky Star as soon as I saw it in the flesh; it shares a lot of the characteristics that make the Chuck 70s feel just right, but it’s different enough to work as an alternative. It’s less blocky than the 70s, and that slightly softer silhouette works nicely with the nostalgic-looking patch and textured details. They make me want to go to a drive-in cinema in a varsity jacket.
FP: How do you feel the Lucky Star fits into the current Converse roster? And in a wider sense how does Converse fit into today’s sneaker industry?
Ry: It’ll be a slow burner for sure, and will take time for people to come round to them but it will definitely have its place in the roster. For how long though, we’ll have to wait and see. Believe it or not, it’s entirely different to the Chuck 70s in terms of construction, but will appeal to the same crowd for sure. A good friend of ours is the Global PLM and he’s worked tirelessly on bringing them to market, so I wish the shoe all the success it deserves.
Converse is an institution and will always have its place in the market, there’s no denying that. Now, with the right people in the right positions at the brand, it will only go from strength to strength. Just lay off the winterised stuff, that’s utter shite in my book and there really is no need for it, in Europe at least.
Will: I think if you’re already into Chuck 70s or Jack Purcells, you’ll probably like the Lucky Star. There’s a really tricky line that Converse have had to negotiate here. Often when brands try to bring in something new that draws on their archive, it ends up flopping with the new customers and pissing off the traditionalists at the same time. But I think the Lucky Star is a rare beast that offers something new while still appealing to the older heads.
FP: Finally, if you could only wear one pair of Converse for the rest of your life what would you both pick?
Ry: No brainer, OG 70s Snake Hi’s for me. All day, every day. I love an animal print make-up. My daughter always tells me I wear my Snakes too much, and she’s right (as always), but I love them so much they’ve been on the weekly rotation since I can remember, and always will be, until they finally fall apart. Then I’ll move on to the reissues.
Will: I’m already there with all the different variations of the Parchment Chuck 70s. But if it had to be one pair only, I’d wear the Undercover ‘Order/Disorder’ collab to annoy Ry.