I’m fascinated by Converse’s Japanese presence. As the footwear company is licensed exclusively in Japan by the appropriately-named CONVERSE JAPAN Co Ltd, rather than Nike, it means that none of its wares are sold outside of the country.

That means a radically different approach to footwear design compared to Converse America, evidenced by weirdo one-off shoes based on heritage designs and the recurring Converse Addict line of premium Vibram-soled Chuck Taylors, perhaps best known internationally for its Richardson collab.

This distinction also means that Converse Japan’s clothing collections are unlike any Converse clothes sold anywhere else. Its output includes the Converse Tokyo collection, a brand once overseen by FACETASM designer Hiromichi Ochiai, and the brand-new Converse Chuck Taylor Clothing project.

A model wears Converse Japan's Chuck Tayler clothing collectionConverse, Press

Admittedly, Converse’s Chuck Taylor Clothing line doesn’t sound all that fancy but, really, it doesn’t actually have all that much to do with Chuck Taylors.

Chuck Taylor Clothing may sound unassuming, yes, but that’s the point. This is a borderline luxury collection that’s nearly as well-made as the Converse Addict line.

A product photo of Converse Japan's Vibram Chuck Taylor shoesConverse, Press

Intended to complement a new edition of top-Shelf Addict Chucks, Chuck Taylor Clothing’s debut collection, currently available on Converse Japan’s website, includes a collarless jacket (about $380), matching wide pants (about $225), and two T-shirts printed with a banana graphic designed by artist Shusaku Takaoka.

The clothes are rife with details that call on their footwear inspiration.

They’re made of a wool canvas intended to mimic the texture of the Chuck Taylor’s canvas upper for instance, their pocket-bags are made of white cotton that replicates the shoe’s sockliner, and piped seams imitate the Chuck Taylor’s vulcanized sole.

Converse Japan's collarless black blazer-style jacketConverse, Press
Converse Japan's banana sweater in pinkConverse, Press
Converse Japan's boxy white banana T-shirtConverse, Press
Converse Japan's black wide easy pantsConverse, Press

It’s not terribly uncommon for sportswear brands to create clothing lines dedicated to their shoes.

New Balance Japan, for instance, produces the MET24 collection, an evolution of its Waist To Toe trousers that designs clothes intended to be worn with NB sneakers (think tech-y jackets, cropped pants).

This is niche stuff, to be sure, but Japanese customers care passionately about the details. You just don’t get Converse Japan thoughtfulness from any of its international siblings.


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