Flavio Girolami and Prathan Poopat allegedly established the trainer brand Common Projects because they 'couldn't find any trainers they liked.' In one sense this is quite a luxurious way to go about life, I mean you could apply it to anything. But it can also be seen as a good way to form a business; as a dissatisfied client they where able to identify a potential niche in a market, in this case a lack of classic, well made trainers. It's a fact that now days, more so than in generations before, plenty of men would like to wear trainers as part their wardrobe, but in order to do so the only option is to wear the same sports brands brands they've worn for years, or more recently trainers produced as a by-product of various fashions houses collections that rarely meet the standards of a specific shoe maker. Many brands haven't developed with them as they've grown older and are now associated with a generation younger than their own. They represent neither this clientele’s ability to spend more, their demand for greater quality and durability and, perhaps most crucially, their desire for a more mature aesthetic that's subtle and classic. In this sense Common Project's offer something few other shoe only trainer brands do, covering classic models with simplicity and quality.
Crucially, in keeping with the companies priorities the shoes contain no branding. The only external text is by way of a factory stamp that is left embossed, often in gold, above the sole on the side on the shoes heel. The designs cover classics types (including non-trainers) such as; the tennis shoe, the Chelsea boot, the desert boot, espadrilles and so on. With each new each season these 'types' are continually adjusted, improved upon and progressed. The company’s original model is the 'Achilles series'. This is a classic leather trainer; that’s repeated year on year and so rarely ever goes in sale. It comes in a variety of different leather hues and three different heights of heel; low, medium and high.
The founders are New Yorkers of Italian decent and this hybrid's nicely represented in their product, an urban street shoe that’s hand made in Italy. Using only the finest leathers, suede’s and soles that mould to your feet, they consequently posses a quality that allows them to improve the more you where them in, an attribute more traditionally the reserve of classic leather shoes as opposed to trainers. Girolami explains this idea succinctly when he says;'you know how some wines become vinegar, but good wines grow more special with age? Its the same with shoes.'
The shoes quickly gained recognition. Just in case you require further endorsement, Kanye West and Jay Z, to name a few have both been seen in them. It's worth spending money on what separates you from the ground and for comfort and appearance these classics are well worth their price tag. An essential casual shoe for the wardrobe of any discerning gent.
Click here to shop the full Common Projects collection.
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