Throughout time, Converse’s iconic “All Star” sneakers have adopted as a means for expression around the world and across cultures; the canvas sneakers have been worn in moments of both rebellion and progress, change and creativity. This week, Converse announced a new community approach aiming to break down barriers to creative progress for a new generation of cultural game-changers by expanding the Converse All Stars program. Positioning youth to drive the progress they want to see in the world, Converse will commit to putting the All Stars community at the heart of its marketing, punctuated with $1M investment over two years to a new accelerator program that aims to fund All Star creativity and growth.
At its core, the program hinges on a robust community-focused ecosystem of mentorship, commission and funding; Converse's global network facilitating capacity building that helps young creatives gain professional experience and opportunity.
Over the past two years, Black Magazine have joined Converse on this journey, steadily growing, engaging and building a global community of more than 3,000 individuals, hand-picked by Converse, from more than 27 cities, spanning LA to Lima. These emerging leaders champion change in sport and culture. Connection with Converse aims to hone their creative talents and amplify their voices — supported by opportunities to co-create creative work and shape the future of Converse on its social and digital platforms. Over the two years, we spent time in Los Angeles, following the these talents and witnessed how much influence Converse have on their success. Read our 2019 coverage here.
This year, for the first time, Converse is opening this community to the public, inviting up to 250 creative individuals to join Converse All Stars through November 2020. New members will have the opportunity to engage with the All Star Series, an ongoing experience of one-of-a-kind workshops, conversations and performances facilitated by Converse’s extended creative family.
To celebrate, Converse held a private two day digital experience, where members around the globe were able to communicate with each other and share their own journey with Converse. The live session was broken into two categories, ‘Taking creative action’ and ‘Creativity with intent’ which featured live musical performances and panel groups and interviews. Stand out performances featured South African based Nyota Parker and Australian home grown legend Boy Soda, whom we had to pleasure of interviewing in November. The All Stars also had the pleasure of hearing from Virgil Abloh, Jefferson Hack (Co-Founder and Creative Director of DAZED Media) and our personal favourite, a discussion on the importance of voting in the upcoming US election, an issue we believe influences the population inside and outside the American boarder.
Converse’s commitment to the community is punctuated with a $1Million accelerator program dubbed Converse All Star Captains, which aims to fast-track the progress of a dozen individual All Stars who strive to define a new possible through creative action in sustainability, inclusivity and diversity, and youth development — areas where progress is critically needed today.
In October 2020, All Stars will have the opportunity to submit individual proposals to Converse on ideas they believe will change the game. Beginning in 2021, the first annual class of Captains – which will include Mathew and White-Thorpe – will each receive a year’s worth of funding to help bring their ideas to fruition along with mentorship opportunities from Converse. This Captain’s class will also be directly and actively involved in providing feedback for and insights into Converse brand work, selecting future All Stars and influencing experiences and programming for the community. Converse will share the collective progress made throughout the journey.
A new film featured above, articulates the ambition of the community of Converse All Stars and teams four of its community members with leading creatives as mentors. Written and narrated by Ify White-Thorpe under the mentorship of Issa Rae; original music by James and Phillip Mathew under the mentorship of Tyler, the Creator, and directed by Leo Aguirre.
To celebrate the launch of Converse All Stars, Black Magazine will profile local members, share their experiences so far, and how Converse has changed their lives forever. Stay tuned for more.
To learn more, including how to join Converse All Stars, please visit: converse.com/allstars