LKH: Converse x Ibn Jasper Pro Leather
I remember when I saw pictures of this shoe last summer with a release date on September 26th, that it was a must-have. The sneaker is an OG silhouette that is in my sneaker canon (we will get to this in a later post) with a solid classic white colorway that dominates the shoe with a yellow sole from the factory. Yes from the factory! To the untrained eye of the casual consumer, it is a white high top sneaker. The true beauty of this shoe is in the subtle key details that are all over the shoe that does not make this a regular Converse Pro Leather.
Ibn Jasper is a creative that has expertise in many facets of life. He is a barber, stylist, and designer that produced music with a function first over form mentality with his products. My introduction to him dates back to over a decade. It was in a series of famous photos taken in the Fall of Paris Fashion Week in 2009 with Kanye West and company that includes Chris Julian, Ibn Jasper, Don C., Virgil Abloh, Taz Arnold, and Fonsworth Bentley. You can read about his account of the trip in his blog. Ibn stated in his blog following the trip:
“Every show that we walked into, the escorts wanted all of us to be in the front row because they honored the style that we brought and respected our presence. And the thing is, what we are actually doing, is showing the fashion world that American men, let alone Black Men, know how to really get busy when it comes to the fashion game. Everyone in the fashion world thinks that Black, American men can’t dress because we wear everything baggy and boxy and our clothes just straight up don’t fit right. It’s the truth whether you like it or not. There are only 3, truly respected American men in fashion, and they are Tom Ford, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs. Kanye is on the path to being the 1st American Black Man that high-end fashion buyers will be wearing with his Louis Vuitton collaboration, following Pharrell’s collaboration with the fashion house for the LV “Millionaire”
I vividly recall there were a lot of people that were flat out hating on their style because it was not what they believed is a representation of Hip-Hop and its fashion. This was a turning point because so many laughed and hated, but the way Kanye and crew operate it is all within research and detail to showcase us the why. Fast forward to the present time and it is still Kanye & company in that very picture that is influencing trends in fashion.
The shoe that Ibn has collaborated with Converse is the Pro Leather. From the initial meeting the design director, Matt Sleep wanted Ibn to work on the very sneaker he had in mind. The sneaker is an ode to the history and legacy of Dr. J and the brand. They did not disappoint. Let’s start by just receiving this shoe out of the box. What initially popped out to me was how the shoe was laced from the factory. The laces were not in your traditional diagonal left to a right pattern found in most sneakers, but going straight to the top first through the sides and the laces at the second last loop tied so that it hangs just at the sides of the Converse logo. The zipper flap is held by the laces being weaved through the loopholes. I like the touch with the zipper pull not being the standard size that gives it a unique look that stands out from your regular standard zipper. If this was not enough, we are blessed with a bronze/goldish 1976 lace lock.
The theme of gold continues thanks to the aged off white color of the sole. When it comes to white shoes, some of us are in the school of clean icy white kicks versus shoes that show battle scars. This shoe is a healthy medium of both minus the scars. Ibn summed up what he wanted out of this collaboration perfectly with just one photo of Dr. J as a muse. “Dr. J in the all-white outfit, with the glasses, with his fro, walking into the arena. He looks like he had just stepped off the Gucci runway. I bet Alessandro Michele had that picture on the mood board.” From the moment you slide these shoes on, you better be prepared for take-off. You have a light brown tan leather on the lining that contrasts with the black suede heel tab. The sole is lined at the top with rich red suede and the letters are gold inside. On the left shoe sole is the converse logo and on the right is Ibn Jasper’s name.
I don’t really know another shoe you can get at the retail price point of $120 for this quality. You are getting gold stitched fabrics on the outside of the lining and around the heel with Converse on the outside and on the inside roman numeral numbers that translate to 1976. The zipper tab opens to welcome you to leather in snakeskin print with a gold Converse logo. There isn’t anything on the market close to this in terms of value and what you are getting. If you are not able to get one retail, I would buy now before these go up and become difficult to obtain.