We catch up with local Converse All Star, Auckland based John Bulay. One of the most genuine and inspiring young creatives we have had the pleasure to meet. We chat to John about all things Converse, fashion, self-expression, social media and sustainability! Welcome to the Converse whanau and get ready for the time of your life!
Tell us a little about what you do?
An aspiring Fashion Designer studying Fashion at WhiteCliffe School of Design in Auckland, New Zealand. I Love to play sports, especially football snd listening to music especially Rap, Hip-hop and R&B.
At what age did you realise you love for fashion and start expressing yourself through clothing and your personal style?
Growing up, dressing up and getting ready was a big part of my life and what I enjoyed doing. Waking up every morning using half a tub of gel just to spike my hair up was the go to back in the day. Then slowly started to have my own sense of style during high school, trying out new styles and trying to stay “swag” as possible. When I was about 16 years old I started becoming aware of the fashion culture, the brands and the latest trends. I was then hooked on to this show called PAQ where different styles were portrayed and opened up my eyes to the wonders and beauty of fashion. To be honest, I do not have a personal style, I like to keep my style broad and wear whatever I want to wear and feel like wearing depending on my mood or the occasion. Through my love for fashion, it has allowed me to become confident in who I am as a person and has allowed me to express myself and my emotions through my passion and love for fashion.
Tell us a little on how your journey with Converse All Stars began? Did you know any of the other members prior?
My journey with the Converse All Stars began through my Instagram, just through expressing myself through photos of my outfits and the different styles I showcased. I was lucky enough to be chosen alongside my brother Luke who also was into fashion which was pretty cool. I didn't really know of any members apart from Kristian Yummul, a good family friend of mine who is also an aspiring fashion designer.
When meeting you, we instantly noticed your love for Converse, particularly with the Converse Golf Le Fleur range. Where does this love for the collaboration come from?
Yes converse is such a simplistic yet effective and bold brand. It has done a brilliant job in collaborating with the artist, Tyler The Creator creating a brand called Golf Le Fleur. The Golf Le Fleur range is definitely something special and something that captured my attention straight away. The vibrant colours, the style and the uniqueness of this range was something I needed in my wardrobe. Tyler the Creator is an inspiration and definitely a fashion icon in today's society who expresses himself through his style and uniqueness confidently.
How many pairs of Converse Golf le Fleur do you own? They aren’t too easy to buy down under…
I’ve had 4 pairs of Converse Golf Le Fleurs, all are very unique and would love to cop a few more pairs if I had the money because getting them for retail is a mission and resell price is just too much.
Your Instagram profile is a beautifully curated feed of images. A platform where self-expression is celebrated. In your opinion, what are the positive aspects to social media? Do you see any negative ones?
Thank You so much, I try my best to keep my feed as creative but aesthetically pleasing as possible. I am forever grateful to have a platform where I can truly express myself through my passions, dreams and aspirations. And it's beautiful, having friends, even strangers sending you love and support which allows me to stay motivated in what I love doing. So shoutout to my day ones and all those who support me and what I do! Although there are negative aspects, I just focus on myself and just keep chasing the dream, because nothing is going to stop me.
The All Stars community is full of like-minded, creative and driven individuals. To celebrate the launch of this All Stars, Converse held a private two day digital experience where members around the world were able to communicate and share their creative journey with Converse. How did you find this experience and was there a stand out moment?
To be part of The All Stars community is a blessing. To have a platform where young creatives get support from successful designers, creatives and entrepreneurs is crazy. As an aspiring fashion designer to be mentored and given advice from the likes of successful designers such as Virgil Abloh the founder of Off White and Samuel Ross the founder of A Cold Wall is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So I just want to thank Converse for helping young creatives continue their craft and making their dreams become a reality.
Is there anything in the fashion industry you would change?
Sustainability has become a big part especially with converse and the innovative shoes they are creating which I love and have my full support for. I would love to see sustainable fashion normalised as it should. To help the common good of the environment and care for our people and this earth.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d like to start my own clothing label here in Auckland. Then slowly start getting into accessories and footwear. To have a fashion show and build a community. Then break it worldwide and have show’s overseas. Lastly to have fashion icons and artists I look up to, wearing my brand. That's the dream!
Photography: Luke Foley-Martin
Interview: Ethan Butler
Shot at Public Library Studio