Designer Jeff Staple draws inspiration from Asian-American culture for his latest collab.
It's 1997 in New York City, a student from Parsons School of Design walks into a boutique. Jeff Staple had no idea that was the day his career would take off. He was wearing a t-shirt with his own print, when he walked out the boutique had placed 12 orders for this Jeff Staple original. Since then, Staple has built his own empire. Within the sneaker world, he is most known for his colorway of the Nike SB Dunk Low. These pairs flew off the shelves during their release and are now being resold for thousands of euros. The design of Puma and Staple has the same characteristic pigeon. The standard Puma logo is accompanied by the grey bird on the heel of the sneaker.
The PUMA x STAPLE collection continues the legacy of the Gidra. For this story, we have to go even further back in time, to the University of California in 1969. A group of Asian-American youths was looking for their own identity within the U.S. The Civil Rights Act had only been signed five years prior, stating that discrimination based on skin color was forbidden. Unfortunately, racism was still deeply woven into American culture. The students hoped to create a sense of community for others of Asian descent by starting a newspaper. Thus, the Gidra was born.
As a child of Chinese immigrant parents, the story of these activist students inspired Jeff Staple. The Gidra grew from a school paper to an influential voice for the Asian-American experience. The colors and design of the sneakers are derived from the layout and the American ivy league culture from the '60s. The Ivy league is represented by the color green, hence the moss-green hues in the shoe. The tongue label represents co-branding through a yin-yang symbol, the tongue is made of mesh with a striking dark green underlayer. The upper is made of suede with golden hues. All of this comes together with a classic Puma Slipstream silhouette.
Author: Eva Vos
Date: November 17th, 2023