Sports shoe brands and designers pool talent

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 10:08am

Collaborations between high-end designers and brands with more mass market appeal have been around for some time. It's a good way to spice up the fashion landscape and a powerful marketing tool.

It's also an easy way to inject a bit of high glamour into a more affordable range of products. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it crashes horribly. With the industry becoming increasingly fast paced, collaborations and guest designers have become tools to pique our interest.Footwear is catching up with the more saturated ready-to-wear sector.

The sports shoe label Converse has plenty of street cred and vintage kudos with the famous Chuck Taylor All Stars - seen on the feet of many a self-respecting indie and rock music lover for decades. But now, in a rather exciting and surprising project, the brand has upped its high fashion ante by collaborating with Maison Martin Margiela - the austere avant-garde label now owned by Italian fashion mogul Renzo Rosso (who founded Diesel).

Converse's Chuck Taylor and Jack Purcell trainers are handpainted in Maison Martin Margiela's signature thick white paint. Since the canvas underneath is still flexible, natural wear cracks in the paint start revealing the colour of the canvas underneath (black, red, navy and a Margiela exclusive vintage yellow) in what I thought was quite an inspired idea. They're available now at the Margiela store, and from Friday onwards at I.T Hysan, for HK$1,599. I'm very tempted.

But Converse is not the only sports shoe label making a foray into designer fashions. Famed Italian tennis shoe brand Superga has just collaborated with Hong Kong designer Barney Cheng, who is better known for his gorgeous red carpet outfits than anything sporty or street.

Cheng's versions of the Superga classic 2750 shoe come in black, white and red with perforated leather uppers. They are available at Superga's Harbour City store for HK$990. In a laudable move, HK$100 from each purchase will be donated to the Hong Kong charity Crossroads Foundation.