Fashion September, 11 2012

Converse for Aloha Rag – AR SRPLS Label Shoes – Q&A

Aloha Rag unveils its second collaboration with Converse. The store has worked on two shoes, the Pro Leather Racer and Auckland Racer, produced under their AR SRPLS Label – a collection of classics that carry over season after season, inspired by military basics. The shoes follow a similar theme. The Pro Leather Racer comes in white leather and suede with a yellow 60’s style tag, camo detailing and laser etched stars on the inside. The Auckland Racer goes fancy in African goat leather with an embossed heel and etched footbed. Hitting shelves soon, the Pro comes in limited numbers with just 300 available, find them in store on September 14 and online September 15. The Auckland hits presale September 15, released December.

We spoke to Aloha Rag founder Tatsugo Yoda about the collaboration and the working process between the two brands, check it out after the jump.

How did the collaboration with Converse come about?

Tatsugo Yoda – What seems like forever ago now, Converse approached us about a collaborative project with our boutique, Aloha Rag, which developed into the 2 shoes, the ARNY & ARHI JP Zips. While developing those, we were also developing the AR SRPLS line, and the Converse First String Team were some of the first people to see it while at our studio for design meetings. With the success of the first round of collaboratives, they asked if we had any interest in creating the ideal footwear for the AR SRPLS line, and we were excited to do so!

Can you tell us a little about the initial design process?

TY – Working within the AR SRPLS aesthetics, we looked to vintage military training sneakers for inspiration. There was one German shoe that was white leather with suede accents and a gum sole, and we thought it translated well to the Pro Leather, considering its heritage color ways. Using that as a base concept, we incorporated details like a yellow logo on the sole to match the yellow tags found in 60’s era BDUs, and also our signature colored camouflage on the heel and collar. There was one image of a private’s trunk on our inspiration board that had stars branded into the wood, and that personalization was something we connected with.

For the Auckland Racer the process was a bit opposite, in that we loved the silhouette of the shoe itself, but envisioned it so far from where it started. We took visual and material inspiration from hiking boots that commandos embraced because they had the weight and flexibility of a running shoe, and essentially made a running shoe that would live up to a commandos requirements.  The shoe is 50 percent leather lined and is clean as a whistle, but can also take a beating but be polished back to a beautiful shine.

Do you have a memory about the Pro Leather to share with us?

TY – Growing up in Japan, I was obsessed with all things American. Converse was an American brand, made in the USA, and in my town, they were very expensive and hard to find! Between 1982 – 1989 I sewed wet suits to pay the bills, and I had to sew ALOT of wetsuits to buy my Pro Leathers. They were honestly my dream shoe, and pretty much the only shoe I wore… that and the One Star.