“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke. Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too.” – Andy Warhol
By creating designs celebrating America’s post-war consumer culture and advertising, Andy Warhol became a key figure in launching the Pop Art movement. He elevated something as ordinary as a bottle of Coca-Cola to high art, glorifying the democratic nature of mass-produced goods. In this great tradition of celebrating American consumerism, seen in Warhol’s illustrations of a can of Campbell’s Soup or his Coca-Cola bottle, what could be more honestly americana than a pair of Chuck Taylor’s? This inevitable partnership is now a reality with the debut of Converse’s Spring 2015 Converse All Star Andy Warhol Collection.
In collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation, Converse’s Andy Warhol Collection unites one of the most iconic brands with one of the most iconic artist of all time. The collection features some of the artist’s most popular iconography, including the Campbell’s Soup print and newspaper ads from a series of 1980s Warhol prints. The collection will hit stores on February 7th and is available in both high top and low top styles. While Warhol originals have sold for up to $105 million dollars, this collection will range in price from $35 to $95.
This is not the first time Warhol has been associated with shoes, let alone Chuck Taylor’s. When Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator in the early 1950s one of his favorite subjects was women’s shoes, which he believed to be symbolic of femininity and the crux of female consumerism. Early in his career, Warhol worked with several mega fashion retailers and created several award-winning whimsical designs for I Miller shoes.
It has also been reported that Warhol silkscreened his own pair of Chuck Taylors in the 1980s. Converse all star design director Damion Silver explained that “Andy Warhol famously created art inspired by American pop culture icons, and was a pioneer in utilizing the Chuck Taylor All Star as a blank canvas for his work.” Silver asserts that the intent of the collection was to “celebrate artistic expression.” Further, the collection will help continue Warhol’s legacy for innovation in that a portion of the profits will go to directly to the Andy Warhol Foundation to support some of today’s most experimental artists.
This collection is proof that Andy Warhol’s legacy lives on and that his work is not temporally static, but instead transformative and reflective of present day society.