Fashion – Converse: Hipster or Heritage?

100 Years of Converse All Star

Older than Disney World, Coca Cola in a can, the CIA, and the internet – in 2017, the Converse All Star turns 100 years old. All Stars, also known as Chuck Taylors (or even just Chucks), began life as a men’s basketball shoe. A century later, you’ll find a pair of Chucks in men’s and women’s closets alike. They’re a must-have. They’re a fashion staple.

100 Years of Converse All Star
“CONVERSE ALL STARS LONLEY” (CC BY 2.0) by De Vetpan Archive –

The Hipster Fashion of the ’90s

In an exclusive interview with, Elizabeth Semmelhack (author of Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture), stated that it was the hipster fashion of the late 90s and early 2000s that flung Chucks to fame. Unlike the fashionista style of the 40s, hipster culture from twenty years ago was more centered around individual image; it celebrated the unpopular, the non-mainstream, and the unknown. The Converse All Star was a staple shoe of these modern trendsetters, and it was at this point in fashion history that Chucks really became a popular, mainstream shoe. (How very un-hipster.)

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

Part of our Heritage

After becoming popular during the 90s, Chucks soon found their way into the hearts and closets of, well, everyone. I challenge you to find anyone who, at some stage in their life, hasn’t owned a pair. From that pair of Chucks that you wore as a child, that surprisingly held their own (despite the many adventures they accompanied you on), through to the pair that takes pride of place as a staple in your current closet for a comfy-but-stylish look. The design hasn’t changed much since 1917; but why fix something that isn’t broken? They go with everything. They look effortlessly stylish. Converse All Stars may be becoming part of our heritage.

All Stars of the Stars and Converse Collaborations

Miley Cyrus, Lauren Conrad, and even Michelle Obama – Converse All Stars have become a fashion staple in the celeb world too. We love them, celebs love them, we know that the design hasn’t really changed in the last 100 years. Bring on the Converse collaborations. From Comme des Garçons in 2009 to Debbie Harry in 2010 and even Nintendo in 2011, these collaborations have not only brought out some amazing shoes, but they have shown just how much the world loves Chucks. These new designs never took away from the timeless style of the All Star; they maintained the heritage style and have helped to make these iconic shoes more popular than ever.

All Stars of the Stars and Converse Collaborations
(CC BY 2.0) by blu_pineappl3

Hipster or Heritage?

Yes, one of the key factors contributing to Converse All Stars’ fame is the rise of modern hipster fashion, but that’s not where Chucks’ story began or where it ended up. They are, in fact, part of our heritage.

They are part of our culture. They are nostalgic and authentic. And I have a feeling that none of that is about to change anytime soon; our love of the Converse All Star will carry on into the future.