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What went down at Converse All Star Series in London

Two days in the company of Octavian, Stephane Ashpool and Feng Chen Wang

What went down at Converse All Star Series in London Two days in the company of Octavian, Stephane Ashpool and Feng Chen Wang
Glauco Canalis

The Hoxton Docks are a former coal depot in north London, located in Shoreditch, the district that best represents London gentrification in its most virtuous effects. The Docks have also benefited from the effects of the revaluation: today it's a beautiful space with an industrial and typically London flavor, the space where Converse inaugurated - on the occasion of London Fashion Week - the Creative All Star Series, which at the same time debuted in Chicago, and that will arrive in Milan in April for Design Week. "Learn, craft, celebrate" was the slogan of the event, directly linked to the activities that took place during it. The learning space saw exceptional guests take part in the talks: Tyler The Creator and Stephane Ashpool above all. The founder of Pigalle Basketball was one of the absolute protagonists of the event. In some ways, Ashpool perfectly embodies Converse's spirit, and its ability to be cross-sectoral.

"The connection that is developing between streetstyle and basketball is very important for Converse, as they have always worked to unite the two worlds. They were the first to produce basketball shoes and step by step those same shoes were also worn off the court. That applies the Converse Pro Leather that I customized, inspired by Pigalle, too. I wear them today but I will also use them to play basketball", Stephane Ashpool told nss magazine. 

Around 100 years of Converse's history have been reunited within the Hoxton Docks space, between performance and basketball aesthetics: from the Chuck Taylor - the first ever basketball sneaker - to the All-Star Pro BB through the iconic Pro Leather real protagonist of the event. A story that counts among its protagonists Julius "Dr. J" Erving, as well as Magic Jonhson and that now, with the return of Converse among the performance shoes, focuses on one of the most interesting young people in the NBA, Kelly Oubre Jr, who has been able to continue that long game of mutual inspiration that for years goes on between fashion and basketball. In response to the question of nss magazine on which of the two he preferred, he replied:

"It's certainly fashion that is inspired by basketball, not the other way around. I've been doing it for 10 years now. It's something that is becoming more and more popular, because fashion is cyclical, but when it passes I will continue to draw inspiration from basketball."

During the event, it was also possible to buy some of the most iconic and recent Converse silhouettes, as well as having the opportunity to customize them almost completely. The Pro Leather Triple White OG has been presented as the "perfect canvas" to create and reinvent. A job in which a designer like Feng Chen Wang is really a champion: the London designer of Chinese origins recently collaborated with Converse, releasing a very special 2-1 Chuck 70.

"I think it's very interesting that people have been able to experience firsthand how difficult it is to be able to rework a shoe and touch the product with their own hands," Wang told nss magazine. "I was very inspired by China and the way they worked in an artisanal way. I then merged everything together with what I learned in London, trying to get a good mix of tradition and innovation."

Also Feng Chen Wang has emphasized the possible mixing of styles and influences: a trend that is already taking hold on the main catwalks around the world and on which also Eastwood Danso, young London designer and also protagonist of the two days Converse, it's working on.

What the brand decided to do with this event was to enhance the most diverse talents of the city, as will happen for Milan. Not only fashion, then, but also music, with a series of artists increasingly protagonists of the world of fashion and art. The figure of Octavian is exemplary in this sense. The French-born rapper, who grew up in London, is now one of the talents that more than any other manages to work on his musical figure, as a performer and as a creative. In recent years, Octavian went from being one of London's most promising underground artists to one of the most in-demanded figures of the fashion system: after the Louis Vuitton show with Virgil Abloh and the lookbook of the collaboration between Supreme and Nike, Octavian has become Converse's answer from an industry, that of UK-made rap, which is constantly expanding. Octavian's concert was the highlight of a day that saw him, along with visual artist Courtney MC, star in a workshop. 

The London edition of Creative All Star Series ended with the Goofy Club of Lava La Rue, a young artist with a unique and instantly recognizable style, who created for the occasion a vidzine that perfectly expresses her DIY style, and with the talk with Tyler The Creator, which has once again proved to be a unique entertainer in the world, able to keep the public's attention in a magnetic way. But the first stage of the Creative All Star Series was not unique only to its main guests: the side activities, the performance of Motherlan - a collective of Nigerian artists - that of Lava La Rue and an incredibly heterogeneous audience have given rise to a an event where the London aesthetic met that of Converse, transporting in the contemporary one of the brands that more than any other has managed to reinvent itself in the modern era, through its aesthetics, its guessed strategies and its communication.