Converse are a lot of things to a lot of people – we know that somewhere, you most likely have a well-worn, trashed pair that instantly bring back memories of music festivals, beer spills and best weekends ever. Converse are also more than just footwear; they’re a blank canvas, that allows you to express yourself in your own way.
In celebration of this, we decided to take a look back at some some highly excellent individuals who have spent and continue to spend their lives striving for individuality and creativity, and some key moments in pop-culture where Cons were present.
When They Were The Undisputed Uniform Of ’90s Slackers:
Kurt Cobain lived in beat-up black Cons throughout the early ’90s, and the iconic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ video was one of the very, very, very many occasions he was seen wearing a beloved pair:
To say that Cons epitomised the slacker vibe of that decade, and became a uniform for a generation of disaffected kids looking to break out of the suburbs, is probably an understatement. For further proof of this, see the video for ‘When I Come Around‘, which any sane person knows represents Peak Green Day.
When They Were The Perfect ‘Fuck You’ To Heels On The Red Carpet:
Picture it: Italy, 2003. Scarlett Johansson was at the Venice Film Festival with her good mates Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola, for the premiere of Lost In Translation. She announced her arrival by rocking a pair of pink hi-tops on the red carpet and she, of course, put not a foot wrong there, nor has she ever.
Photo: Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images.
We’ll skip ahead now to the MTV Movie Awards 2009, aka the moment when Kristen Stewart became K-Stew. The success of a certain series of vampire movies (we forgive her for that) gave her freedom to do whatever she wanted. ‘Whatever she wanted’ was to say no to the tyranny of heels on red carpets, choose interesting roles in independent movies, throw well-deserved attitude at interviewers, and spend time in her very own studio, pursuing her artistic passions. Please count the number of fucks given in the below picture, we’ll wait.
Photo: Jason Merritt via Getty Images.
While we’re on the subject, let’s not forget the time that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made this happen:
When M.I.A. Used Them As Her Own Blank Canvas:
Well before she shattered the mould to pieces and became a pop star on her own terms, M.I.A. – that’s Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam if you’re nasty – was using fashion as a means of expressing individuality. “I used to customise them when I was at college – write on them, spray them,” she once said of her favourite pair. “Y’know how you’ve got Reebok pumps with like 350 million things attached to them? All that extra stuff makes me want to rebel and put a pair of Converse on because it’s just a blank canvas.”
Photo: Jim Dyson via Getty Images.
When Hunter S. Thompson Made Them His Footwear Of Choice:
This guy was seldom seen out of his basic, white Oxford-style Cons, because he admired the simplicity of them. That was the one simple thing about Thompson, whose creative passion burned bright. In no particular order, he: invented gonzo journalism, dropped a lot of acid, inspired generation after generation of young writers to tap into their inner reserves of weirdness, and wrote Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, which someone you know has probably already quoted at you today.
Image via The Volts.
When They Made Joseph Gordon Levitt Your ’90s Style Icon:
Thanks to the immortal sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun, Joseph Gordon Levitt became the last word in teen aliens for a generation of ’90s kids. You know you either wanted to be him or be with him. Levitt, whose character Tommy frequently wore Cons, broke new ground for child stars that you didn’t want to punch in the face, and remains an A+ individual to this day. We know you’re Googling this series now, remembering that it ran for six years until 2001, and are planning your binge-watching session accordingly. Do what you have to do.
Image via Fanpop.
When All The Best TV And Movie Sidekicks Wore Them:
We were not worthy of the sheer beauty that was Wayne’s World, or the catch phrases that the movie and its sequel inspired. We are all Wayne and Garth, but mostly we are Garth. At least his footwear situation was locked down tight.
While we’re on the subject of dudes who are not you but also very much are you, there’s old mate Blake from Workaholics. His life and hair are in a continual state of disarray, but his shoes are beyond reproach.
Also, while we’re on the subject of sidekicks, did somebody say Seth Cohen?