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Converse Celebrates a Century of Orginality and Pop Icon Status

NORTH ANDOVER, MASS (7 February, 2008) – In 2008, Converse Inc. will commemorate its centennial year as one of the world’s most coveted, iconic brands. From the invention of the All Star® shoe in 1917 to the African-American barnstorming teams of the 1920s and 1930s, to the birth of the NBA and rock ‘n’ roll to today’s pop culture, so many of those who have disrupted the status quo and changed history have worn Converse. The Converse centennial and stories of the true originals who’ve worn the brand, will be told through product, advertising, retail displays and online components throughout the year.

“Converse is the footwear company that was first in sports and first in rock ‘n’ roll, and we will continue to be the brand that inspires originality for the next 100 years,” said Jack Boys, Converse CEO. “Converse has gained tremendous momentum with our recent resurgence in performance basketball. We evolved our footwear collaboration with John Varvatos, one of the world’s most renowned fashion designers, to launch Converse’s men’s and women’s premium apparel business called ‘Converse by John Varvatos’ in Fall 2006. And this year, we launched our long-term partnership with (PRODUCT) RED™ to help assist in the global emergency and epidemic of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in Africa. We are extremely proud of our heritage and excited about the momentum we have as we embark on our next 100 years.”

The year will be a celebration of the people who have made Converse the cultural icon it is today by incorporating original designs, product collaborations and re-issues of classic shoes into the Converse Century footwear collection. The collection, which will roll out throughout 2008, includes new variations on timeless classics and all-new product that blends modern design with Converse originality.

The sports-inspired collections range from the Black Fives®, the first professional African-American basketball teams circa 1920s, to tennis originals Converse pioneered in the 1970s and 1980s, to the basketball stars of today. Converse will bring back the original 1917 All Star shoe, the Pro Leather shoe that graced many of the stars of 1970s pro basketball and the Weapon, which ruled basketball courts in the 1980s. In an exclusive three-pack series, called the “What If” packs, Converse will tell the stories of early players of the Harlem Renaissance, basketball legends of the 1970s and current NBA star Dwyane Wade. The “What If” packs contain a signature shoe for each player if they had played on the same team in the same basketball era. Each includes the All Star Revolution, the Converse 0100, and the Wade 3 shoes.

To coincide with Converse’s centennial the brand will also launch Converse 1HUND(RED) Artists, a year-long global curation project designed to celebrate and preserve culture to further support Converse’s long-term partnership with (PRODUCT) RED™. Enlisting artists across the world, Converse collaborated with artists from a wide-range of disciplines and levels of notoriety from fine artists to art students, rock stars to indie bands, and fashion designers to graphic artists. One of culture’s great blank canvases, generations of artists have been scribbling on the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe for decades and Converse 1HUND(RED) Artists gives artists the opportunity to use their creative power to design a variety of Converse (PRODUCT) RED footwear with the goal of celebrating culture and supporting The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Converse Century is also told through specific footwear designs marking the pivotal points in music history with early Rhythm and Blues circa 1930s, Psychedelic Folk and the rise of Funk circa 1960s and 1970s on up to 1980s-inspired punk.

Cultural stories from the Converse history books will also be unveiled to showcase the brand’s key role in culture throughout the decades. These stories include the Handsketched Flower Print collection circa 1940s, which references patterns and colors of the decade. Buffalo Check Plaid and Ombre Plaid recalls the popular look throughout the 1950s, while the Scout collection marks the brand’s little known involvement in the popular youth organizations.

The Converse Century footwear collection will be available nationwide at specialty retailers, department stores and online at www.converse.com throughout 2008.

Learn more:

Product History Timeline Century Footwear Fact Sheet

About Converse Converse Inc., based in N. Andover, Massachusetts, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc. Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as “America’s Original Sports Company”™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including premium lifestyle men's and women's footwear and apparel. Converse product is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries and through 25 company-owned retail locations in the U.S. For more information, visit Converse on the web at www.converse.com.

Read More: Converse All Star