Allister Tran

Black speak to Auckland based Converse_x_rep about design, sustainability, self-expression and the trip of a lifetime to Los Angeles

01 December 2019

Allister Tran

Age: 22

Location: Auckland


Tell us a little on how your journey with Converse_x_ began?


It all began earlier this year in March when I randomly got a DM from Converse on Instagram. I was thinking to myself, surely this is a scam. Boy, I’m glad I was wrong. I attended one of the global drop events in Auckland where I got to connect with other creatives in my community and also, the slick team from Converse. Voila, I was now integrated into the global group of Converse_x_ creatives.


How did you feel with you were announced as one of the lucky reps to join Converse in LA?Have you been here before?


I spoke to other members about this moment too, when the message came through, and we all agreed it felt like the universe was starting to align with our manifestations. I was literally in a state of shock and euphoria for a whole week. I was not expecting to be invited at all, but I am glad that the team saw and appreciated my point of view with the content I was putting out there. I couldn’t wait to meet everyone else from around the world and make those ‘international connections. As kid from a small suburb town, you always talk that talk, like, “yeah one day I’m going to go to LA and do this, and that” but to actually have the ability to do that was a dream come true.


During the week, we visited Tyler, the Creators LA based store, GOLF for the exclusive drop of the latest Converse GOLF le FLUER* Gianno sneaker. The colour way gifted to you was bang on. Later that week we were lucky enough to hear from the Senior Design team on the creation and design process. As a design innovation graduate, how did it feel to be in front of the lead sneaker designers?


The team probably took notice of all my beige looks during the week and thought I was trying to subtly hint at them! No, I’m only joking but it was all so surreal. I couldn’t believe that we were gifted the shoes in the first place but to then later attend a presentation to hear about the origins of the shoe and learn about the development process… such a huge honour. I was looking back to myself the whole time, and what my younger self as a design student would think about this experience. As designers we rarely speak much about the process and trials that come with creation, we just let the finished product speak for itself. I really appreciated the senior designers giving us that information on the new Gianno shoe, but not only that, they also gave us a huge rundown on the whole iterative process of the GOLF le FLEUR* line and how the collaboration with Tyler has developed and evolved over time. Truly inspiring, I think we all walked out of that experience with ideas and projects booming in our minds for the future.


The main theme of the LA Converse_x_ experience was self-expression and its link to fashion and sustainability. What does self-expression mean to you and how is it portrayed in your style?


Self-expression is a journey that you’re constantly going through in life. It’s letting yourself not be limited by restrictions through outside voices, and external factors. Letting yourself, be authentic and open to sharing your point of view to the world. I often go through stages every few months where I get inspired by a specific aesthetic. From there, I conceptualise a story/mood pulling from inspirations and influences I find through social media and online. I’m currently in this tonal, modernist 70s stage but in a couple of months’ time I will probably be inspired by a completely different narrative and that will translate into everything I create, style, and portray. I basically just communicate what’s going on in my mind through what I wear and express.


Sustainability is one of the planets hot topics. In LA, we were given insight into how Converse is reducing the carbon footprint but still managing to produce both a stylish and quality product. As the younger generation, how do you feel about the current climate and when world leaders chose to ignore it?


The biggest insult to injury we as a generation will ever have to experience because most of these leaders will not even be on this earth to deal with the consequences of their selfish mentality. The power of ignorant bureaucracy is sadly not going to go anywhere. On the bright side, our generation is the future of this planet. We are innovative, openminded, aware and fully capable of driving change. At the end of the day its our future we have to protect, and I think we’re all fully aware of that.


One of the weeks highlights in LA was the opportunity we had to shoot the Gianno sneaker [the first in the world to access the sneaker]. How did it feel to be around such creative and like-minded people?


This was the aspect of the trip I was most excited to be a part of. Creating with other individuals from different global backgrounds, talents, skillsets, perspectives… it was a dream. You can truly see we’re all just out here, putting ourselves out there in the world for the sake of creativity and expression. I hope one day we can re-connect again wherever it may be in the world and create together again! Language barriers aren’t an obstacle when you have creativity as a universal connection.


This week, you experienced Camp Flog Gnaw as a VIP. Who were your favourite performers and why?


Attending Camp Flog Gnaw was another surreal, pinch yourself moment. It was like someone copy and pasted my Spotify playlist into real life at Dodger Stadium. The Internet, Blood Orange, Clario, Daniel Caesar, Willow Smith, Goldlink were the highlights of both days but my top three… Solange. The fact that I got to see Solange, in real life, wearing DION LEE, doing her thang, it was beyond! I was inspired by her since ‘Losing You’ which came out almost ten years ago. She just embodies an artist who is cohesively conceptual in every aspect of her output, and I love that.


Steve Lacy, when he got to do his solo of ‘Playground’ during The Internet’s set, he is honestly killing it, like for real. I think he is making such important waves in this industry and I am just so honoured to say that I was there, V.I.P, screaming at the top of my lungs “I LOVE YOU STEVE, MARRY ME”.


FKA twigs wasn’t even a performance at a festival. It was a pure art! One of the most amazing experiences I ever had. Every song she performed felt so individualistic, each song had its own moment, with a costume change, choreography piece and staging. It was so elaborate!


Lastly, where do you see yourself in 10 years?


Hopefully with no wrinkles! Haha, only joking but for real there’s so much I want to do in this stage of my life. I want to further pursue and get established in styling and digital design. This trip has really opened my eyes to what you can really achieve if you set your mind to it, and just do it for the sake of it being your passion. So that for me would be my short-term direction but the main goal for me, is to create a global platform for creatives all around the world to collaborate and express their work. I want this to showcase diversity and presentation of all types of people in all fields. Whether this is through a magazine, an online platform etc.


Representation of all types of individuals is so important, there is still so much more out there in the world and it needs to be shown. Growing up, I didn’t have anyone like me to look up to at all. Although, yes, that experience has shaped me to be who I am today. I want those young, mini versions of myself out there in the world to have someone to look up to and give them confidence, to go out there and just be them, do what they want, and change the future for the better.


I just want whatever I do to help shift and change culture and break down those damn societal norms!


Keep up with all things Allister via his Instagram. Maybe jump on for some incredible style tips!


Interview by Ethan Butler



More from BLK List

Presenting Aysha Nanai-Leifi aka POLYPRINCE$$

We speak to Converse_x_ Melbourne rep, climate activist and founder/Muva of 'Poly Connection'

'Introducing SODA'

We talk to Converse_x_ member and musician on the rise Brae Luafalealo


Black are proud to present the next stage of Converse_x_ live from Los Angeles