As creative director of the American-made “Sperry by Chris Echevarria” line, Echevarria aims to make the shoe more multidimensional and connect to a wider swath of consumers.

“I honestly didn’t know anything,” said Chris Echevarria when asked about his knowledge surrounding Sperry’s archive. “The Top-Sider was a shoe that was presented to me. When I was younger, I never asked any questions.”

But that quickly changed once Echevarria, who founded footwear brand Blackstock & Weber and clothing line Academy, was named creative director for an American-made collection with Sperry titled, “Sperry by Chris Echevarria.”

Echevarria, who recalls wearing Sperrys to church before they transitioned into his adult wardrobe, wants to recontextualize the Sperry and make it more multidimensional and wearable for multiple people—much like his approach to the loafer for Blackstock & Weber. He also wants to put a spotlight on craftsmanship and artisans.

“With me doing Blackstock & Weber, I’ve noticed that as I progressed in this brand, there aren’t many artists left or people who make stuff by hand,” said Echevarria. “A lot of them are older, retiring, or dying. So if I could show what is important about American manufacturing, craftsmanship in this realm, it feels like I could influence a whole other generation of people to go into that career.”

Echevarria’s collection includes the Authentic Original Boat shoe coming in brown or black made from tumbled American bison and Horween leather, and the Captain’s Oxford, which is made with hairy suede uppers, a Vibram lug outsole, and full grain leather binding. Both retail at $375 and are available now at Kith boutiques globally and Echevarria’s Blackstock & Weber e-commerce site.

We sat down with Echevarria to talk about the new Sperry collection, the future of Blackstock & Weber, his new brand Academy, and why most product design feels lazy right now.

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