Converse’s Brandis Russell talks about how collaboration helps brand break down barriers
January 15, 2021
In collaboration, the organic affinity Converse partners have for the brand’s historic product becomes a catalyst for ongoing conversations about its future. Or, as vice president of footwear Brandis Russell recalls, the process is about welcoming “new thoughts, new visions, new purposes, new energies and new intentions.”
Converse has more than a century of culturally connected history, ranging from the early days of the basketball storm to the streetwear that sweeps the catwalks in Paris. The hotline remains a shared sense of opportunity to break convention.
“An important value of Converse is the one that respects, honors and wants to continue fostering creativity. Inviting the collective genius continues to spark innovation for us, ”says Russell. “Our brand has been a positive shaker at really critical moments in the culture. Today we want to make sure that our creative drive, and that of our partners, has an accompanying intention. “
“For my next collaboration with Converse, I was really interested in the functionality of the design. And do something that was Ivy League in the 90s and preppy American style with grunge elements, and explore the reality of this, but also the functionality. “
“We just want to continue to make great, fun and affordable sneakers with Converse that can appeal to a broad and diverse community without borders or labels.”
“We went ahead and made some genderless sneakers; what happens to them is down to the streets.”
Over the past few years, Converse’s collaborative sphere has developed alongside a revived spirit of internal collaboration to deliver on the promise of purposeful progress. This merges into energetic shifts in thinking about inclusive design, sustainable practice, and, importantly, how Converse maintains a constant sense of fun.
“Our collaborators always help us be more fun and a little less serious,” says Russell. “You can do that and still celebrate the inheritance; take a new posture and hold a position. “
That notion holds true for upcoming work with a beautiful array of creative partners including but not limited to: Kim Jones, Telfar Clemens, Comme des Garçons PLAY, Off-White, and Tyler, the Creator. Sounds strong in recent projects with Boston’s neighbor Concepts, as well as future projects with Bandulu and Chinatown Market. And it sets the tone for collaboration with athletes like Alexis Symbol, Natasha Cloud, and Draymond Green. “There is something special that this place honors: the diverse spectrum of thought and choice,” says Russell.