Built for the basketball court, the One Star launched in 1974 as a groundbreaking low-top off-shoot of the Converse All Star. Just a year later, it would disappear from the Converse line up.  The Converse One Star’s impact and adoption across different cultural groups is significant.

In the 90’s, a culmination of distinct cultural trends across the globe brings the unlikely One Star back into the zeitgeist. Vintage collectors in Japan were willing to pay big dollars for rare sneakers from the 70’s and 80’s, the rising Grunge scene of Seattle had become adept at adopting old favorites and repurposing them, all as “anti-fashion” became fashion on the catwalks.

As a reaction to these trends, the One Star was re-emerged in 1993 where it was quickly adopted by grunge and skate culture.
The innocuous versatility of the silhouette made it a symbol against excess, but also provided cushioning and functionality to this alternative lifestyle. On the more colorful end of the spectrum, the One Star was a favorite amongst the American rave scene. In 2015 it began it’s journey back into culture through the Converse skate team who embarked on a One Star World Tour, wearing the updated Converse One Star Pro.

At the end of 2016 at Art Basel in Miami, Stüssy debuted a hairy suede pack of 3 and was identified as one of the best drops of the year. Momentum increased in 2017 when Undefeated brought some militaristic uniformity to the shoe and Neighborhood celebrated it’s role in anti-fashion with the drop of a moto- inspired One Star. As we head into 2018 the One Star finds another moment to leverage its history of disparate moments and make its own future — rising back into prominence with a creative interpretations by the audacious Tyler, The Creator.

We caught up with 4 South African Converse artists to find out what One Star represents to them


 What does Converse One Star represent to you?
Creativity – it’s like the poster boy for artists and I like that we have that now.  It speaks to kids who don’t want to dress quiet, or down.

There is a lot of emotion in all your work. Are the tears real…?
The tears are real! Don’t take my jacket, literal boys do cry. And the tears stem from me trying to channel that longing and sadness onto something beautiful, I like the connection that sadness and wonder can have when you bring them together.

How do you go about choosing the subjects and subject matter in your pieces?
It’s different now. I used to be drawn to pop culture. Now I’m more drawn to authentic moments or trying to emulate them. Emulating grail pieces of art, like Blonde, or Scum Fuck Flowerboy to paintings like the Birth of Adam. But doing it in my style and my truth. Then referencing subjects I find on the internet that I feel fit my vision. I know my work is heading into a very conceptual direction – I’m excited for it.

In what way is being an anti hero better than being a hero?
Because heroes are a cliche and I’m no. I’d rather be Killmonger and live my own truth than be the hero that everybody routes for.

LORENZO PLAAITJIES @lorenzoplaatjies


 What is your earliest memory of Converse One Stars?
Back in Port Elizabeth when my brothers used to be swagged up for the weekend because they were dancers.

As a singer what would you say sets you apart from other entertainers on the South African stage?
I’ve got the most amazing energy on stage fuelled by pure passion and hunger. My tone is great.

Your style definitely stands out from the rest. What is the inspiration behind your colorful code?
I’m very expressive and unapologetic. In my head I live in an animated house where Snow White turns 21 and the 7 dwarfs are strippers.

In what way is being an anti hero better than being a hero?
Being an anti-hero is better than being a hero because most anti heroes don’t wear capes. Just like me when I liberate females in the world.

MOONCHILD SANELLY @moonchildsanelly


How does One Star fit into your lifestyle?
It Blends with my old skateboarder lifestyle on non conformant art style. The two together, become me.

Does your lifestyle influence your work or does it go vice versa? Can the one live without the other?
I’m heavily inspired by my city and surroundings. Not necessarily visually, but emotionally. My work, I’d like to think, is a collection of emotions I come across in this city. Being pretty bohemian inspires the work I make. They can’t function without each other. I’d probably break down without the either one.

When did you decide to commit your time to your trade? What do you think made you turn that page?
I always was, always have been. I’ve just wanted to grow as an artist. People only noticed it now, I’m grateful for the love now.

In what way is being an anti-hero better than being a hero
Heroes conform to the norms that this cancerous collective known as society decrees. Anti-heroes are the underdogs doing right for the masses, but only a handful at the top think it’s wrong. It’s like comparing Wesley Gibson from the Mad Cow comic series WANTED, to the Marvel golden boy Captain America.

SETH PIMENTEL  @african_ginger


When did One Star first leave an impression on you?
When I saw Gully’s collaboration with Converse, and they had what I think was the One Star hotel – that was insane.

How does your lifestyle represent itself within your music?
I’m the biggest fan of anime so I leave the sweetest crumbs in my lyrics because of that. Also being a big fan of RPG games has me hacking and slashing through verses. I really can’t go through a song without referencing those things, either directly or indirectly.

What would you say is the spirit and drive behind your craft?
Music plays a big part in people’s moods and energies, and I know from personal experience that it’s one of the very few things that could save someone from despair. I’ve been blessed enough to share my ideas with a lot of people hoping that it makes people feel all sorts of emotions but also makes sure that they know they’re not alone.

In what way is being an anti hero better than being a hero?
I feel being an anti-hero allows for a lot more solutions and ideas to saving the day because of its unconventional nature. Sure, heroes are great for their honour and valour but you can’t tell me Deadpool didn’t entertain you and save the day in the end.

SIYA NGENA @siyangena69