The Converse ‘One Star’ was a trainer that Converse were really pushing to market during my time. It was a classic trainer, originally released in 1969 and now Converse wanted to re-release the classic. “The One Star is back for the third time. The classic Converse silhouette made a name for itself on the feet of the world’s best basketballers and 20 years later, transitioned to the soles of skaters worldwide. Now in 2017, the One Star returns to leave another mark on youth culture.” – Steve Duck
‘Youth Culture’ was a phrase that was used frequently around. It was a project that really integrated young creatives, bloggers, skaters, artists, designers and many more to Converse. These sort of people became a major feature in Converse’s approach. The names like Gully Guy Leo, Ryan Hawaii, Yung Lean, ASAP Nast and Tyler, The Creator all represented what Converse felt was youth culture, and changing the perception of creativity. All young, inspiring and pretty fucking cool. Being ‘One Star Rated’ was a phrase that was identified to the product, the Converse One Star. A shoe that was being pushed constantly, throughout my time there. The next step for Converse was to really push the One Star in the major key cities; one of them was London. A hub for creativity, inspiration, art, fashion, and not giving a fuck, were all elements to be ‘One Star Rated’. This then developed to the idea of really putting Converse on the map, and identifying as a major game player once again in trainer culture.
‘The One Star Hotel’ was a huge campaign located in East London. The concept was simple, a hotel dedicated to the Converse One Star trainer. The place was huge. There were various rooms that represented a specific campaign, creative or moment in the One Star history. Ranging from a room dedicated to the brand MadeMe, Cotton Candy Room, The Basement, Year of the Dog room, the list goes on. Each room has a unique element to it, dedicated to that collaboration, artist, person or whoever. The whole concept was incredible. Each room had so many Instagram-worthy moments, which made this idea really influential throughout all media. Open to the public during the day, then VIP parties in The Basement in the evening. It was an amazing event and a great opportunity to really see what the Converse team had been working on, come into fruition. It’s best to just to look at all the photos and videos for a better idea…
An Introduction to Converse
Since a very young age, I had always had a strong passion for trainers and everything related. Converse Chuck Taylors were an essential in my trainer rotation; probably for the last 15 years, and for also many other people. This was always a dream for me and to even have the opportunity to work at Converse was incredible. I started my internship in September and straight from the beginning it was an amazing experience. The Converse building was situated in Hilversum, The Netherlands, right by the Nike EHQ building. As Nike bought Converse a few years ago, we were always involved and heavily integrated with Nike. Whether it was through events, moments or projects, it allowed you to meet people from all over the world in so many different places.
The internship spanned 6 months in which I was heavily involved in day-to-day tasks of a designer in the team. When I started, the whole design and marketing team totalled to be around 8 people, including me. The following weeks the whole team multiplied and there were new faces everywhere. You could sense a change in brand direction for Converse, and this was an exciting time to be part of a new team.
The design and marketing team worked closely together on every project. Every task or plan would involve a variety of people from the marketing team and you would end up working with a new person on most days. This allowed me to really get involved in the team and start to understand the way a huge company like Converse works through every stage of a project. Everything was closely looked at, analysed, debated and executed with intent.
My role as a designer was to pretty much learn about the role of a junior designer and specific tasks and projects I would be working on. This varied from a range of different design tasks such as creating assets for the dot-com team, apparel design, banners, flyers, posters and installations to name a few.I was lucky enough to have a close relationship with the new junior designer and was able to shadow her sometimes. She was extremely talented and I was able to learn a lot from her. Ranging from technical skills, to approach, programs, methods and execution; she had so much talent and it was great to learn from such a skilled designer.
Converse x JW Anderson[/caption]
Archive Project at Farrow Design
After returning back to the UK from Converse, I needed to involve, experience and learn as much as I could. The opportunity to help Mark Farrow to archive all of his old work would be a great learning opportunity. Farrow Design worked and designed a vast array of projects so learning from both Mark and Gary would be an amazing chance to learn directly from the best. From walking into Farrow design, you could immediately sense the scale of design that they were involved in. They are one of the biggest studios around with clients ranging from The Pet Shop Boys, Peyton & Byrne, Creamfields, Spiritualized, Craig David and many more. It was like walking through an art gallery with so much to look at.
During the next 2 weeks, a team of us would sort through all of Mark's old projects, works, designs.. literally everything you can imagine. It was really insightful as it gave us the opportunity to learn a lot about design especially his method, process and approach to each of his projects. As well as a great learning experience, we were also given a variety of his old work including Manic Street Preachers Posters, Books, CD's, a rare Hacienda Poster from their final birthday event to name a few.