Saturday, March 11, 2017

Converse Chuck Taylor Face-off

One of the most iconic shoe brands that has withstood the test of time is the Converse Chuck Taylor or simply “Chucks”. Designed by an All American Basketball League star player, Mr. Charles “Chuck” Taylor, these sneakers have pioneered the foundation of athletic shoes, worn not only for basketball but also for almost all sports disciplines in the Olympics during his time. Through the years, the immortal brand that would soon celebrate its centennial birthday in 2032 has expanded its use from outside sports right into the everyday lives of people all over the world.

Mr. Charles "Chuck" H. Taylor, Converse brand ambassador and Sales man
The classic design -- hard canvas body on zero-drop heel to toe differential of tough rubber sole with white toe-cap -- has never gone out of fashion and had been embraced by multiple cultures of people worldwide for almost 100 years. It is simply the most acceptable fashion statement that can be matched with practically any apparel for almost all occasions. The Chucks will always look cool and awesome with any clothes you can think of. 

1917 Converse Athletic shoes - The first of its kind

1921 Converse All Star Basketball Shoes
1936 Converse All Star Basketball Shoes. The first Converse that bares the name Chuck Taylor on the side patch logo

Recently, Inquirer Lifestyle partnered with Converse Philippines to showcase some of the country’s top fashion designers at a fashion show event held at the Atrium of Shangri-La Mall. Dubbed Face/Off OOTD, the event featured clothing designs from all ends of the spectrum, ranging from formal gowns to the most casual attire worn by everyday people.

Many of the designs were matched with various styles and colors of Chucks worn by top models and a few celebrities like Julie Ann San Jose, Benjamin Alves, beauty queen Maxine Medina, and the always vibrant Tessa Prieto-Valdes. Also present were popular personalities who have made significant contributions to our society like Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags-to-Riches. 

Ms. Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags-to-Riches
Apart from featuring versatile fashion that matches with Converse Chuck Taylor, the show also highlighted how these sneakers are bridging gaps in all social classes. Imagine, the Chucks worn by a CEO in a suit and the Chucks worn by an ordinary college student in worn-out jeans, both have the same price tag! How cool is that?!

All Black (low-cut) Converse Chucks redefines elegance

I remember buying my first Converse Chucks using my first paycheck while working in McDonald’s as a service crew back in the 80’s. While everyone went crazy getting the hottest Topsider shoes, I wore Chucks, not just because it’s the only brand of sneakers I can afford under my meager income as a fast food busboy, but because it had a stronger traction to my taste and style.

Another day at school or in the office, Chucks blends in whatever attire

Converse Chucks, for me, is a footwear befitting a character that signifies humility and simplicity. People who wear Chucks offer a statement that says, “I may not have a lot of money but I have more to offer in my heart and in my head” kind of thing.

Converse One-Star Pro-leather (white)
Over the years, with more than a dozens chucks that have already come and gone, my sense of sneaker fashion was somehow passed on to my sons, who are now also Converse sneakerheads. I don't recall telling them to like what I like but, somehow, they found their own way in liking and wearing the brand – it's a self discovery, I guess.

Converse All Star Chucks in black Canvas and brown gum-sole...

My Chucks and I have definitely come a long way. If only they could speak, some pairs will have a lot stories to tell about places I’ve been to such as during the Yolanda typhoon in the streets of Tacloban during relief operations, strolling the flooded alleys of Manila during monsoon season, and even those times I went to posh places where I was denied entry because I was wearing sneakers. All of these experiences of wearing Chucks taught me valuable life lessons and maybe that’s the kind of legacy I want to leave my kids with: that wearing a pair of Chucks is more of an expression than an impression.

Me on Converse Jack Purcell Leather. Taken at Converse PH Office...
And as we walk to whatever life’s journey we are still destined to tread, I know Chucks would continue to provide foot comfort and, at the same time, remind us to keep ourselves closer to Earth and keep our feet grounded. After all, that’s what Converse Chucks is all about -- it’s an expression of one's humility, simplicity, and freedom.

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