Highsnobiety / Annette Apel

The NEIGHBORHOOD x Converse collaboration is available to shop now over at Highsnobiety Shop

Among Tokyo’s old-school Harajuku pantheon of backstreet brands and shopping destinations — NIGO’s A Bathing Ape, Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER, and Tetsu Nishiyama’s WTAPS, among others — Shinsuke Takizawa’s NEIGHBORHOOD has paved its own lane.

Founded in 1994, Takizawa’s brand is built on a spirit of rebellion, mostly rooted in outlaw culture and generations of badass dudes on motorcycles. But NEIGHBORHOOD isn’t simply a motorcycle-influenced label. Its enduring appeal is in how it takes the idea of the outlaw and aligns it with forms of subversion and resistance through the ages.

Takizawa’s military references make sense when we take into account how fatigues and surplus gear became a uniform for ’60s and ’70s anti-war protesters and activist groups such as the Black Panthers. Added to the mix are other outsider subcultures such as crust punks, who would patch well-worn jeans with mismatched fabrics and render them as collarless BDU jackets or rip-and-repair cargo pants.

Highsnobiety / Annette Apel

One of NEIGHBORHOOD’s oft-used mantras, appearing on everything from T-shirts to baseball caps, is “Craft With Pride.” It’s a mentality that informs the inherent quality of Takizawa’s design and the materials he works with. This is apparent in his collaborations, from those with small skate brands like Babylon to sportswear giants such as Converse, with which he’s releasing a capsule collection of kicks and apparel that ties together the seemingly disparate worlds of biker culture and basketball.

We spoke to Takizawa about what inspired the Converse collab and how he gives everything he does that signature “NEIGHBORHOOD touch.”

How does the theme of resistance play out in this collaboration?

Similar to the last collection, this capsule combines a utilitarian and classic aesthetic to explore motorcycle culture. It fuses subtle streetwear elements, basketball styling, and motorcycle nuances for a head-to-toe collection. The Jack Purcell silhouette also features inscribed Japanese kanji text on the heel that translates as “teiko,” meaning “resistance.”

Highsnobiety / Annette Apel

NEIGHBORHOOD is especially influenced by motorcycle and outlaw culture. How are those elements represented here?

We updated the Chuck Taylor and Jack Purcell in triple black colorways. We see the shoelace guard on the Chuck Taylor as not only a design aspect but a functional one as well — when you shift on a bike, it provides protection for the rider.

What are some of the graphic influences in this collection?

We utilized retro NBHD graphics and archived Cons logos on a coach jacket, hoodie, jersey, pants, shorts, tee, and hat. It blends basketball styling inherent to Converse’s DNA and streetwear elements long embedded in our DNA.

Highsnobiety / Annette Apel

What basketball influences did you add to the clothing? Every time NEIGHBORHOOD does a sportswear staple, it adds a signature touch to it. Can you tell us about your approach to the apparel here?

Today’s sportswear includes some form of technology, but for this apparel collection, we balanced contemporary Converse imagery with archived logos for a fresh design.  Converse has a long history in basketball, and we wanted to fuse this DNA with our history in streetwear in a new way.

What inspired your choice of silhouettes?

I prefer to work on the Chuck 70 and Jack Purcell — they are two of my favorite models. Although I love the One Star, too — it was my first Converse shoe in junior high.

You can buy the NEIGHBORHOOD x Converse collaboration right now from Highsnobiety Shop.

Words by Jian DeLeon
Editorial Director

Jian DeLeon is the Editorial Director at Highsnobiety. He is based in New York.