Los Angeles is so much more than Hollywood, so much more than beaches, and so much more than Beverly Hills (shout out Weezer though). Though the high-end fashion world has long obsessed over New York, the way that street style, skate culture, and subcultures like street basketball influence fashion in LA is undeniable. Converse — with a rich SoCal history — recognized this and decided to showcase the city in a new series of capsule collections.
In an effort to honor LA’s eclectic aesthetic mix, while also incorporating their own classic basketball heritage, the footwear brand tapped four emerging streetwear designers to put their spin on the blank white palette of Converse basics. They tapped Babylon LA, RSVP Gallery, CLOT and Rokit to make over silhouettes of shoes like Converse’s Chuck 70, Fastbreak, and One Star CC, and create custom apparel to go along with the shoe designs. The guidelines were simple: Use a base of black, white, along with a color of the designer’s choice. The rest was up to each collaborator.
This week, the results of this experiment were unveiled in a private media preview held in Chinatown for the four brands involved. Lee Spielman, one of the designers behind Babylon and a founding member of the hardcore punk band Trash Talk, cited the influence of skate culture and Hollywood High as an LA skate landmark in their designs.
“Our shop is on right near Sunset and Highland, and the Red Line lets you off at Hollywood and Highland,” Spielman explained. “And anytime a kid gets off at Hollywood and Highland they have to pass by Hollywood High to be able to come to the shop. It’s almost in some ways like a gateway, it’s like a marker in a sense. But a lot of the kids who come to our shop to skate — because we have a big bowl in the back, it’s almost like a community center type spot — know that Hollywood High is a super iconic skate spot. It’s a monumental stair set. It was tight to incorporate the neighborhood that the shop is from into our design.”