Meet Two of Converse's Local All Stars
Here’s something to wrap your head around: every time you put on a pair of Chucks, you’re lacing up a shoe that’s been around for 100 years.
Yes, it’s been exactly a century since Malden, Massachusetts-based Converse Rubber Shoe Co. hired semi-pro basketball player Charles Hollis Taylor to help sell their shoes. And that he did. As a salesman-slash-design consultant of sorts, Taylor gave invaluable input, particularly with flexibility and support, to improve the primitive Converse Non-Skids. The result was a basketball shoe that took hard courts the world over by storm, eponymous to the man who would one day become a household name and inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
With the advent of better footwear technology beginning in the 70s, the shoe slowly lost its place on the court but over the years, the Chuck Taylor All Star has transcended sport, broken barriers by crossing cultures, and has successfully remained as relevant as ever.
All Star: Timmy Albert
One such culture where the shoe has had a profound presence has definitely been music and for 22-year-old up and coming artist Timmy Albert, it’s one that holds great significance.
“I feel like they give me something to keep me going forward,” he says. “Its history and representation of the independents and the outspoken really make it my choice of sneaker.”
As an independent musician, Timmy has been making waves on the charts with streams already hitting the two million mark for his track "Roses & Sunflowers,” while “Emotions Away” has garnered over 1.6 million listens all in just his first year on Spotify.
Just like the Chuck, sport is also very much in Timmy’s DNA, having played baseball in high school for Ateneo de Manila and donned the NCR jersey in the National Games. After tearing his ACL in his senior year, he decided to go full steam ahead with music.
The competitiveness in him is still there, though. Apart from his music career, Timmy also competes in esports tournaments representing his alma mater.
"I compete in tournaments for Valorant (an FPS video game),” he shares. “My team and I have been consistently placing in professional and collegiate tournaments both locally and in Southeast Asia.” Although his music comes first, Timmy doesn’t see why he can’t do more than just that.
All Star: Ponggay Gaston
Meanwhile, 23-year-old volleyball star Ponggay Gaston is another one who refuses to be boxed in. Playing for the blue and white, her infectious energy and willingness to do whatever it takes to win has endeared her to fans throughout her college career. We all saw how the young athlete was tasked to adjust to a variety of positions, which she had to learn to play. And she did so remarkably well.
Despite having had tremendous success in her chosen sport, winning a championship in the UAAP as well as a podium finish in beach volleyball for the Ateneo Lady Eagles, Ponggay also enjoys what she does off the court like modeling, hosting, and teaching English to kids.
“Those are some of my other passions that I hope to continue pursuing and improving on,” she says. Multi-faceted, to say the least, she relates most to the Chuck’s versatility not just as an athlete but also as a woman. “It continues to emerge and adapt to the changing times and so will I.”
Albert and Gaston are just two All Stars. Together with UNAIDS Goodwill ambassador and Former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, social media personality/radio DJ and activist Dora Dorado, multimedia artist and student Garren Jersey Evangelista, basketball player David Murrell, and singer/actress Kyline Alcantara, they make up a select team hand-picked by Converse that best represent the local All Star community. They’re gamechangers who are unafraid to use their voice on social issues and break barriers in their respective fields.
With its just launched ‘Breaking Barriers’ campaign, Converse hopes that the diverse team they have put together inspires Filipinos at a time when we all need it most.
“I don’t allow expectations and limitations set by others to define or stop me from what I can do,” Gaston shares.
“I break barriers by believing in myself,” adds Albert. “I break barriers by using my platform to be vocal beyond my music and genre and being someone my younger fans can look up to."
At the end of the day, everybody really just wants to leave a legacy. We all just hope we can leave this place better than how we found it and that’s the message the brand wants to convey through these All Stars who push progress through art, fashion, basketball, and sustainability. Individuals who are breaking barriers. Chuck himself would be proud.