Inside the Development of the Converse Chuck Taylor II

The making of a new classic
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Image via: Converse

Image via: Converse

Just shy of its 100th birthday, the Converse Chuck Taylor received its first major overhaul in the summer of 2015. The public may have been introduced to the revamped silhouette through a quartet of clean colorways, but the makeshift lab that birthed the shoe wasn't nearly as tidy as the finished product. The space was referred to as "the Pit," located in Converse's old headquarters in North Andover, Mass. There, Ryan Case and Damion Silver, the brand's global footwear product director and design director, respectively, deliberately messed with a tried and true formula, oftentimes over late-night pizzas. And since the custodial crew was denied access to the top-secret workshop, the Pit would soon live up to its name. 

What was the impetus for the creation of a new Chuck? According to Case, a primary reason was creative burnout. "It was very — I hate to say it — cut and paste," he says. In 2014, executives decided simply updating colors, graphics and collaborations On the Chuck Taylor was longer enough, and a lot of it had to do with the consumers. An increasingly sophisticated sneaker market required a more compelling reason to drop $60 on another pair of Converse sneakers.

In 2015, Converse commanded about 6.5 percent of the total sales of parent company Nike, with revenue of nearly $2 billion. That's up from just $200 million in 2003. Considering the upward trajectory, you can expect Converse to maintain a progressive vision. Go to Business of Fashion to learn more about the backstory behind the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II.