At one point in time, Chuck Taylors were the official normcore Cute Boy sneaker: basketball teams and teenage heartthrobs wore them. Now, Converse is a brand that makes trans veterans and 11-year-old drag queens its spokespeople. Of course in the years between, the brand's have been punk-ified, nerd-ified, Tumblr-ified and everything-ified (the beauty of Converse is their blank slate), but the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is a good a year as any to take stock of progress.
To celebrate the historic anniversary and Pride 2019 in general, Converse debuts a new collection of "glitter-dipped," "parade-worthy" sneakers, including a trans flag design, as well as a few different plays on the iconic LGBTQ rainbow. The capsule pays homage to glam rock with glitter and lightening bolts. Instead of It girl models, the brand tapped a group of the people they their collection will celebrate: queer artists, activists, athletes and writers who have broken the rules, as well as regular people who are trying the make the world a better place.
Ayishat Akanbi, Kristin Beck, Alexis Sablone, Desmond Is Amazing, Fran Tirado, Felix
Converse built its zeitgeisty gang from many spheres. Ayishat Ankanbi is a British DJ, writer and cultural thinker whose cerebral Twitter makes the website a better place, while Fran Tirado is the deputy editor of Out Magazine and host of Food 4 Thot, "a queer brown podcast" self-described as "Like NPR, on poppers."
The sneakers stamped with blue and pink trans flag accents are modeled by a student activist named Felix who Converse discovered at OUT MetroWest, as well as Kristin Beck, a navy seal turned trans activist whose memoir and advocacy has challenged the military's attitude towards gender and sexuality.
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Alexis Sablone, a queer pro skateboarder and three times X Games gold medalist, also joins the crew, showing off clean white high-tops with black and rainbow lightning bolts.
Finally, the the most colorful entry in the collection is donned by Desmond Is Amazing, the luminous 11-year-old drag kid and LGBTQ activist who's walked at NYFW, been awarded the Marsha P. Johnson Don't Be Outraged Be Outrageous award from Heritage of Pride (plus a few pages more accolades) and generally become a symbol for where the next generation is leading us.
Follow them all immediately, watch them, read them and shop the collection, available now.
Photos courtesy of Converse