Today, CONVERSE, announces the launch of the Converse x Undefeated footwear, apparel and accessory collection sold exclusively at select Foot Locker locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Building on their well established relationship and highly coveted collaborations, this partnership brings together Converse iconic footwear and Undefeated’s high-level street wear design aesthetic to Foot Locker’s global audience.
The Converse x Undefeated collection features the iconic Converse Pro Leather and Star Player, two shoes that began in basketball and birthed the modern sneaker era. In addition to footwear, the collection includes street wear staple hats and t-shirts featuring Undefeated’s sharp graphic design against a neutral palette, with pops of red, blue, and orange.
We caught up with Matt Sleep of Converse to discuss the new partnership.
Converse and Undefeated have a long history working together primarily on the Poorman’s Weapon, what can we expect from this line?
More of the same great product detailing and savvy material choice, but with a wider range of silhouettes and an apparel and accessories selection. We have defined a subtle but strong design aesthetic throughout our previous projects, grounded in our joint passion and relationship with American sports and the utilitarian styling of Undefeated’s design. This collection allows us to continue to express this in a bigger way than we have done before.
Read the full interview and see the collection in detail after the click.
Pushing the line through Foot Locker locations vs specialty retailers is a huge change compared to past Converse/Undefeated distribution patterns, what’s the genesis behind this decision?
Both our brands have a great following and we’ve had great success to date with our projects. We’re excited to have the opportunity to share this collection with a wider audience and who better to partner with than Foot Locker, who are one of the predominant names in the sneaker and sports industry.
I always felt a dope general release was a better look than pieces that sold out based on forced exclusivity. Is that the idea here?
This is definitely a project that is first and foremost about crafting great product. The sneaker industry has changed so wildly over the last 10 years that I think it is a lost cause to argue that one product is better than another simply because of the quantity it was released in or the location it appeared at.
Not to say these things aren’t important, they are to a degree, however what should be the topic of discussion is whether it’s a good shoe/sweater/cap or not. Here, we have 2 talented design camps coming together to make great product, the fact that more people can access it, is really just a testament to the demand our previous projects have created.
We’ve seen bags and MA-1 jackets as part of previous Cons/UNDFTD collabs but unless my memory fails me, never tees or hats, what will those look like? Will kids be able to pick up UNDTD logo pieces on the mass market?
We had some great response to our previous endeavors, that you highlighted, and saw this as a unique opportunity to expand on that momentum and create a holistic offering which indeed spanned apparel and accessories as well. The design mentality that went into these pieces was really the same that applied to our footwear- a combination of American sport heritage with Undefeated’s unique utilitarian styling. What you’ll see is key sport silhouettes, like the heather grey crew neck tee, combined with the strong graphical language both our brands posses.
Is this a one and done/single season collab or will there be Converse/UNDFTD product available through Foot Locker on an on-going basis?
We’ve built a great relationship with Undefeated over the years and had a lot of fun creating this product, as well as seeing it succeed. We like to look at any collaboration as a true partnership and with any partnership this organically evolves and grows over time. I think it’s fair to say we’d both like this to continue, but for what exactly is coming next, you’ll just have to wait and see!
How would you respond to someone who says Undefeated is selling out by taking this route?
I think I’d probably laugh! This response is somewhat of a ‘blinkered’ response, especially when you consider the sneaker landscape today. Undefeated has been a driving force in both American and Global sneaker culture since day 1- they are some of the original architects of this culture we perpetuate.
This is recognized in the response their product offerings receive and so it is only natural for any successful business to grow. By broadening our product offering we are only recognizing the support that people have given over the years and returning that love- if anything I’d say that’s a pretty admirable trait for any company.
The Converse x Undefeated footwear, apparel, and accessories collection will be available globally at Foot Locker beginning March 29, 2012. For more info and store locations visit www.FootLocker.com.
Interview: Pete Williams