Cape Town, August 2018. Love them or hate them, the classic CROCS have made a comeback. Amplified by the collaborations with international design aficionados Balenciaga, Christopher Kane and Gucci, this high-fashion twist has seen the original innovation and Crocs comfort merge with extreme fashion statements on catwalks, glossy pages and the feet of some famous fashionistas.
Originally designed in 2002 as the ultimate boat ‘shoe’, the classic CROCS, characterised by its light-weight foam mould and chunky design, quickly found popularity as a practical and everyday footwear choice. Since its first appearance, the classic CROCS clog has been enjoyed as a sensible style statement for beach-lovers, gardeners, sportsmen and women, chefs, medical practitioners, moms, dads, grandparents and children experiencing their first shoe. Until now that is. Dubbed by Vogue as ‘the shoe to covet’, this fashion turn has left naysayers speechless and haters having to re-think their somewhat old narrative.
Disruption in discomfort
Following in the footsteps of those consumers happy to trade vogue for mobility and protection, fashion designers and trending fashionistas are identifying CROCS clean lines and functionality with favour and incorporating its first classic look into 2018 fashion statements that have elicited a resurgence in its popularity and demand; delivering sell-out responses to the latest cutting-edge Spring collections which feature new colours, fur-lining and add-on charms affectionately referred to as ‘jibbitz’ and ‘Croc-olytes’.
“When Balenciaga approached us, we were intrigued by the opportunity to push the boundaries of our design and moulding capabilities to see what we could create together,” says CROCS’ Senior Vice President of Global Product and Marketing, Michelle Poole.
“Working with Balenciaga has been so much fun for our team, and once again demonstrates the relevance of our iconic clog in today’s fashion and design world, as well as allowing us to tap into the excitement and energy that comes from unexpected relationships.”
CROCS are the new cool is the messaging from today’s fashion insiders, creative artists, designers, celebrities and macho men who like to read GQ. Of course, grandma could have told you this after
having lived a lifetime in restrictive footwear that resulted in her fallen arches, aching joints and arthritis, but thankfully younger generations now have an opportunity to experience a waterproof, easy to clean functional clog in a wide range of colours that carries the stamp of approval from leading icons of the fashion empire as part of their trending collections.
New heights in Innovation
By appealing to more style-conscious consumers, CROCS new look accounts for almost half of current CROCS sales since it was first revealed on the fashion runway in October 2017 as part of the Balenciaga S/S Collection. Featuring rhinestone-encrusted classic lines, it featured as part of award-winning British fashion designer Christopher Kane’s collection at London Fashion Week in February 2018 and were again walked down the Gucci Cruise 2018 runway.
Bridging the gap in consumer relevancy, the classic CROCS has evolved from ‘clunky’ outdoor wear to chunky and glamorous on the catwalks. Despite a short history of derision from fast fashion commentators – who resisted its initial sweeping popularity and led a backlash regarding its perceived ‘ugly’ design.
“We are the brand that people love to hate,” says Michelle Poole, CROCS Head of Global Merchandising. “Actually, we value the tension because it keeps us relevant.”
Back to Basics
Are fashion houses following the CROCS style or is CROCS following high fashion? Who cares. The future is unstoppable as 2018 fashion leaders raise a green card to embracing its fun colours, and flexible styling to deliver a new look for the season and empowering CROCS customers to wear the brand proudly. “CROCS is sending a message about culture,” says Poole “Our vision is for everybody to be comfortable in their own shoes.”
Today there are more than 300-million wearers around the globe that have helped the brand establish its footprint in 90 countries. With over 100 diversified styles in sandals, flats and heels, it seems that CROCS are now moving out from behind those closed doors of comfort to a space in the spotlight, celebrating their unique individuality and strutting a story of true fashion expression.