Converse COVID-19 sneaker release to breathe life into South African fashion streets

Fusing street fashion and fine art to depict the unique experiences of Africans amid the COVID-19 virus, this thought-provoking sneaker release by street apparel Converse will sure breathe life into the South African high fashion streets.

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Converse sneaker with unique hand-painted custom design
Converse partnered with 5 local artists for a new range of limited-edition sneakers

Despite major challenges facing top fashion retailers today, street apparel Converse is rallying to support a group of African artists facing challenges during the unprecedented COVID-19 global crisis.

The fashion retailer has launched the #CreateAtHome campaign in collaboration with 5 local artists tasked with designing a range of limited-edition sneakers available for purchase online.

The artists (namely Fhatuwani Mukheli, Sindiso Nyoni, Nardstar, David Tshabalala, and Falko Fantastic), were asked to visually depict the African experience of the COVID-19 virus in a way that “breathes a refreshed message of hope, strength, positivity, and survival into the classic white Converse Hi-top”.

Customised with only 75 pairs available per design, the limited-edition is now available for sale for pre-order on Converse’s website.

Meet the artists and their unique sneakers designs:

1. Sindiso Nyoni: ‘Khulekani 2020AD’

One of the first artists to come on board to #CreateAtHome and design a pair of Chuck 70 for the limited-edition collection is self-taught Zimbabwean graphic artist Sindiso Nyoni.

Khulekani 2020AD

Drawing inspiration from African mask making and pattern artistry, the inviting deigns of this University of Johannesburg graphic design graduate is a reminder during these uncertain times to “stay connected to our spirituality in order to navigate our sanity”.

2. Fhatuwani Mukheli: ‘Hope

A one-of-a-kind artist with many creative hats, Fhatuwani Mukheli, who is the co-founder of the Soweto-born and bred creative collective, I See a Different You (ISADY), uses art to change perspectives, create life and bring colour to people’s souls.

Hope

In Hope, he used the colours red, black and white to depict power, struggle and conquering. The graffiti message on the shoes, he said, sends a strong message of collectively overcoming COVID-19 as a nation. 

3. David “Slaying Goliath” Tshabalala: ‘In Living Colour

Inspired by pop culture and people he meets every day, Johannesburg-based illustrator and graphic designer Slaying Goliath has developed his own quirky, artistic style that focuses on societies issues at large.

In Living Colour

In living colour, he was inspired by his love for an era defined by a bold, bright colour palette which I’ve adapted as my signature style over the years.

4. Nardstar: ‘Boskop

Known for neat lines, vivid compositions and her thought-provoking animal murals, Capa Town-based artist Nardstar’s artwork uses a pin cushion protea to convey the message of being “apart but united”.

Boskop

Half the flower is painted on each shoe and together it makes a complete flower. 

5. Falko Fantastic: ‘One Direction’ 

Considered a pioneer of South African graffiti, Cape Town artist Falko sees street art as a social tool.

One Direction

`We can only move forward if both feet are facing the same direction’ serves as the inspiration behind his provocative One Direction range, which features painting of elephants, his favourite subject, in a variety of hues such as purple, orange, lime and baby blue.

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