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Converse’s New Essentials Collection Actually Gets Better Over Time

Consider it the fine wine of hoodies and backpacks.
Converse Essentials zip-up hoodie in black. Photo: Converse

Converse Essentials zip-up hoodie in black. Photo: Converse

There’s something appealing about a scuffed-up pair of high-tops or slightly faded sweatshirt; unlike their sterile just-bought counterparts, these worn-in pieces speak of the life of the wearer. After all, clothing is made to be lived in, not just Instagrammed.

Converse sneakers have long existed in this category. Originally designed as a shoe for basketball elites, the company’s most iconic item — the almost hundred-year-old Chuck Taylor All Star — has proven itself a cultural mainstay with strong ties to the worlds of music, film and art. This year, Converse is building on that strong foundation with the release of the Converse Essentials collection that aims to do what their sneakers already do so well: Pair with everything you already own and look even better over time.

“We are very excited to launch Converse Essentials, a collection of true sportswear styles that have been designed to get better with time," said John Colonna, VP/GM of Apparel for Converse. "Every single detail of this premium apparel collection has been obsessed by our team, from fabric, fit, elevated 4 needle construction, YKK zippers, and rubberized trims, Converse Essentials delivers the most superior quality and comfort for our consumer.”

Just like a scuffed Chuck which might tell the story of a wild concert, a winning pick-up game at the neighborhood court or a casual first date, it always hints at something interesting. The Essentials Collection, which drops on September 29, aims to do the same.

Featuring a tee, crewneck, pullover hoodie, full-zip hoodie, jogger pant and backpack, the collection is marked by timeless design — aka looks you won’t want to ditch a few seasons from now — and quality construction that will hold up just as long as the styles do. The tees, made from ultra soft Supima cotton, arrive already feeling as comfortable as your favorite lived-in band tee, the zip-up hoodies have convenient double pockets to store your phone and a port to run a headphone cable through.

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Converse Essentials crewneck and jogger pant in Red Block. Photo: Converse

Converse Essentials crewneck and jogger pant in Red Block. Photo: Converse

Converse is also introducing the collection with a limited-edition drop on September 28 (the day before the main launch) in collaboration with Japanese musician and designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. Fujiwara, who helped pioneer Nike’s limited-edition HTM line, subjected his Essentials Collection to the equivalent of 12 years of washing and wear to show the textiles extreme possibilities and speed up the aging process so that the pieces come already feeling as worn as actual vintage. The result is softer, slightly faded pieces that fast-forward the aging process and deliver a vintage feel right away.

The longevity of both style and fabric means that this collection flies in the face of fast-fashion attitudes and trends. And the fact that these pieces will stick with you for the long haul makes them exciting for another reason, too — it means they’re the perfect canvases for letting your inner DIY guru take over. No one wants to put hours of labor and tons of creativity into customizing a garment that’s going to fall apart or seem “so last season” in a few months, and the Essentials collection promises to be just the opposite.

Customized pieces from Converse Essentials collection with a Fashionista twist! Photo + customization: Nina Frazier Hansen

Customized pieces from Converse Essentials collection with a Fashionista twist! Photo + customization: Nina Frazier Hansen

With a range of solid colors from light grey to red to black, these pieces serve as the perfect backdrop for your collection of patches — or a bleach-and-fray job, or a customized sweatshirt sporting your name or Insta handle. (Ok, so maybe these digs are meant to be Instagrammed after all.)

In the end, whether you customize the pieces with spikes and hand-embroidered slogans or just by wearing them daily and letting them conform to the unique quirks of your body, the Essentials collection is meant to do life with you and get better over time. Who said aging gracefully had to be difficult?

Check out how we celebrated the Converse essentials launch with some customized pieces of our own in the gallery below and shop the Converse Essentials Collection at Converse and online on September 29.