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Rick Owens’s Reconciliation

By Eugene Lim

 
Morad Bouchakour
 

Rick Owens is more likely to be seen in a pair of leather platform boots, than a pair of sneakers, yet the American designer — who eschewed trainers growing up — has become a cult figure to sneakerheads and streetwear enthusiasts alike.

The list of hit sneakers in his resume range from collaborations with Adidas and Vega, to sneakers designed in house including the Maximal Runner, the Ramones and the Geobasket.

While it is not exactly out of left-field, for his latest Fall/Winter’21 menswear collection, he dropped a surprising collaboration with Converse — via a reworking of the Chuck 70s.

 

Titled DRKSHDW x Converse TURBODRK Chuck 70, the sneaker sees Owen put a brutalist spin on the iconic Chuck. The resulting sneaker, leans towards a sculptural boot, with a square-toed construction, elongated tongue as well as two layers of rubber outsoles for heft.

“When I see something ubiquitous, I feel like I want to distort it,” says Owens on the collaboration. “I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe it’s some kind of adolescent rage. But that’s one of the greatest appeals of the Chuck Taylor All Star.”

The TurboDrk is rounded off with the addition of pentagram, a symbol of his Drkshdw line replacing on the stars on the side of Chuck 70s. While this is the first official collaboration between the two, Owens is no stranger to Converse. The Ramones (named after the American punk rock band) sneaker, has been drawing design cues from the Chuck Taylors. For the uninitiated, think of Owens’s Ramones as a supersized, exaggerated version of the classic Chucks.

 

“I’ve been referencing [Converse] for years, so when they suggested a collaboration, it seemed like a good, natural thing to do,” said Owens in an interview with WWD. “And it kind of closed this poetic circle since I’ve been referencing them for so long and they were cool with it.”

Could Rick Owen’s latest sneaker collaboration with Converse, be a sign of coming full circle with Nike? The sneaker most synonymous with Owens is perhaps the Geobasket. First introduced in the Fall/Winter ’06 collection, the moon boot/high-top sneaker hybrid drew references from a myriad of athletic footwear including Nike, Adidas and Puma, but was affectionately known in the sneaker community as the “Dunks.”

 

At first glance, the sneaker did not seem to have much in common with the Nike sneaker, but it was the Swoosh-like design on the side that drew the sneaker giant’s attention — something which Owens claimed he was extremely flattered by.

No record of the letter or lawsuit was ever filed, but future Geobaskets saw the removal of the Swoosh-like design with an inverted triangle motif. Meanwhile the original Dunk versions have been elevated to grail-like status.

With Converse coming full circle with Owens and the Ramones for this collaboration, could it be a sign of things to come with the a possible collaboration between the designer and Nike? 


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