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Falling under the respected umbrella of CYC Corp. who counts fellow contemporary label wings + horns as its associate, Reigning Champ has become a highly dependable label for rugged, quality classics. Partnering with Converse, the duo utilize R.C.’s iconic fleece as the basis for a two-pack of Chuck Taylor All-Star Lows. Featured in two timeless colors, arguably you’ll find nothing as classic as heather gray and navy blue. An international launch party is slated for the Toronto division of HAVEN on Friday, July 13, while the shoes will be available globally at select retailers. Fellow Canadian outfit, Inquiringmind, spoke with Matt Sleep and Kenta Goto, from Converse and Reigning Champ respectively. Check out Inquirimingmind for a more extensive look while below are some choice excerpts of the interview:
With such a deep history, Converse is one of today’s iconic footwear brands. How does Converse determine what brands to collaborate with?
MATT: As you mention, Converse is super iconic. It became such an icon because so many different groups and cultures, over time, have adopted the brand and used it as a way to express their own creativity. That said, we are fortunate to have a wide range of the most innovative and creative people on the planet who want to collaborate with us. Additionally, we are constantly inspired by art, design, music, fashion and culture of all types and are always open to partnering with people who inspire us whether they are known or unknown.
And you guys made two colourways to choose from [Navy and Grey] and I must admit, both of you nailed it. The end product seamlessly represents both brands…
KENTA: The fine details give the shoe much of the Reigning Champ character but still keeps a simple aesthetic which stays true to both brands. The eyelets are matte black to match the black hardware found on Reigning Champ garments. The interior is lined with an oxford fabric. Laces come in natural and in matching colors to the uppers. The outsole is kept in the original Chuck Taylor gum rubber. The double branded label is printed on natural, edge stitched down on the tongue.
Talking specifically about the choice of materials, can you describe the angle behind the design?
KENTA: Reigning Champ takes pride in the brand being Canadian and their garments being produced in Canada. Globally, Canada is being recognized for having great quality product and we do our best to reinforce that. With that [in mind], we wanted to use our signature heavyweight fabric known for its rugged, dense and unique characteristics.
Speaking of which, the choice of fabrics was a beautiful touch…
KENTA: We went with our signature heavyweight terry fabric and [used] an oxford fabric for the interior. The whole concept was based around using our signature heavyweight fabric that Reigning Champ is well known for, [but this time] on a sneaker. We love the way this fabric is stiff and tough. We thought if this fabric could be used on the sneaker it would hold its shape and wear [out] very well [over time]. The fabrics used on our sweatshirts wear [out] and discolour beautifully and we hope the shoe yield the same results.
The launch of the shoe is exclusively at Haven, describe the relationship between the two parties.
KENTA Converse approached us with the idea of a launch event for the shoe and let us weigh in on where we would like to hold the event. Haven, being one of our best retail partners and a Converse First String retailer, had recently opened a beautiful space in Toronto so we approached them on the idea about the launch. Haven has been one of, if not, the biggest supporters of Reigning Champ. Season-after-season, Haven has given a full representation of our line at their stores from the beginning. Arthur & Daniel from Haven are great to bounce ideas off of and we always seem to pull off great collaborations together.