A tribute to UK sneaker customizer "Rob L", PUMA teamed up with this devoted Clyde historian, collector and artist to develop the sought after "Archipelago Clydes". First noting the presence of Clydes in the book "Spraycan Art" back in 1988, Rob L became obsessed with PUMA Clydes and Suedes. He soon started collecting as well as customizing them in a unique way.
Rob L's hand painted Archipelago Clydes bubbled up in the sneaker media as one of the most sought after sneakers in 2007. Featuring the distinct Rob L pattern and technique, which Rob started to develop by coloring sneaker suede uppers in panels with Pantone marker pens. As coloring with marker pens worked out to be patchy on big areas, he perfected his technique by breaking it down to smaller patches of color and into very organic looking shapes. The "archipelago" pattern was born, named after the Greek word which is used to describe a collection of small islands.
The perfection of this "factory finish look" technique in the sense that it has the feel of factory produced item rather than a traditionally hand customized shoe is meant to startle the onlooker and is also born through a desire to produce an item which loses the "home made" feel of traditionally customized sneakers. It rather stems from a Hip-Hop philosophy or approach of taking an existing product and re-mixing it to create a totally unique product. With the release of the RobL Clyde, effectively Rob L's original model now becomes a sample, not a custom.
The original blue-atoll colorway & a triple white version have been reproduced as a complimentary gesture to Rob L on his distinctive "Archipelago" design. The shoe also features a slightly padded tongue which is designed to make the laces sit wider apart an improvement on the old "jelly-roll" technique of stuffing rolled up socks under the tongue to achieve a bigger shape. Other details include a smooth and soft nubuck upper with a raised pattern screen-print and the Rob L stamp in the sockliner and FOT. 500 pairs per colorway will be available world-wide.
Available at Solebox starting June 21st, 2008.
More photos below...