What do you get when you pair a classic kick company with one of the most dope lyricists to ever do it? You get the sneaker collaboration you didn’t even know you needed. Available from May 2, Converse and pgLang, a multilingual company founded by rapper Kendrick Lamar and longtime collaborator Dave Free in 2020, have announced their first collaborative collection – pgLang for Converse. The collection, according to a press release sent to ESSENCE, “embraces the unknown, celebrates what’s established, and looks toward what’s yet to be discovered for Create Next.” ”
pgLang for Converse also fearlessly reinvents Converse’s most iconic silhouettes – the Chuck 70 and Pro Leather – and “uses them both as canvases for storytelling and exploration,” according to the release. The partnership’s design language is said to be rooted in minimalism, which is demonstrated in the subtle details added to the original silhouette just enough to make a difference. From Pro Leather’s suede upper and pgLang symbol next to the iconic Star Chevron, to pgLang’s asymmetrical rubber varnish for Converse Chuck 70 and cryptic text graphics on the insole and outsole, identity pgLang’s fundamental of curiosity, accessibility and creativity is unabashedly integrated throughout the shoes.
“When pgLang first approached Converse to collaborate, we knew it was a perfect match. Their focus, vision and focus on progress is perfectly in sync with our own values. We were able to get to work quickly after that initial conversation because the partnership was so well aligned,” a Converse spokesperson told ESSENCE exclusively. “The love for Converse’s iconic silhouettes – the Chuck 70 and the Pro Leather – resulted in a collaboration which maintained the classic nature of the sneakers, yet refined through the lens of pgLang’s aesthetic.”
Along with the sneaker collaboration release, pgLang for Converse is releasing an accompanying music video featuring artists Tanna Leone and Selah Marley, which tells the story of two strangers who find an unexpected connection while driving through Los Angeles. . “Converse are fans of Tanna and Selah and were thrilled to have her at the center of the creation. Tanna is an amazing emerging artist and we were happy to work with Selah again on a new project. The result is a beautiful video that captures the essence of our entire partnership,” the Converse spokesperson continued to ESSENCE.
In fact, the collaboration and the music video are so intertwined that the laces from the pgLang for Converse collection are “used as a mechanism by which the two characters discover a connection to Los Angeles – a city where loneliness can be hard to escape.” Converse’s short also included Tanna Leone’s new song “One of One,” which was released via pgLang and Def Jam Recordings.
ESSENCE had the opportunity to speak with model and singer-songwriter Selah herself about her involvement in the collaboration, starring in the creations directed by Savannah Setten and produced by Jamie Rabineau, and working alongside the hip-hop artist and rapper Tanna Leone, pgLang’s newest. signatory.
ESSENCE: What did you like the most about the collaboration between pgLang and Converse?
Selah: What I really enjoyed about the pgLang x Converse collaboration is that I was given the rare ability to work with people I sincerely admired from my youth and I just feel honored that they have chosen as muse for this project. I also love the craftsmanship and attention to detail in the design, like the embroidered accents and metal eyelets. Something about this sneaker has a minimalist design that feels powerful and intentional, which I can really appreciate. But most of all, I appreciate pgLang x Converse for supporting young creatives across the country and the world with a platform to connect and express themselves freely.
ESSENCE: What was your creative input regarding the visuals?
Selah: I really think I was able to fully express myself with the team. Whether I’m contributing to the style of the outfit or discussing my role in the film in depth with the team, I really feel like the entire team at pgLang and Converse really took the time to make sure that myself and my co-star, Santana, felt comfortable and excited about our roles in this project, which I really appreciate every time I walk on set. I must say that I really enjoyed working with the Converse and pgLang teams.
ESSENCE: How was your experience working with the Converse team?
Selah: Well, since this wasn’t my first time working with the Converse team, I felt very comfortable coming on set for this project. I have really had a long standing relationship with the company since the start of my modeling career as they have always been extremely generous and hospitable. Whether they invite me to their head office or send me a package with their last drop, every time I work with them it’s an amazing experience and I feel like that feeling can’t be that affect the results we receive.
ESSENCE: Why is it important that big brands like Converse and pgLang partner with black creatives and artists?
Selah: I think it’s incredibly important that black creatives, artists, and people are supported in every way as a means of justice and equity for a particularly brutal past that has left countless beings disenfranchised and neglected. As we move forward in history, it is imperative that we right the wrongs of the past through appropriate action with a focus on equity, empowerment and edification; and it should be the norm for all as we reimagine our world.
pgLang for Converse will be available starting May 2 in a limited worldwide release on Converse.com and pg-Lang.com.