CONS Project Toronto and Weapon Launch
Words & photos / Blair Alley
The Converse All Star from 1917 and the first Chuck Taylor from 1934.
CONS treated a bunch of us media folk to a two-day immersion in sneaker culture and skateboarding in Toronto, Canada. Eli Reed and Tom Remillard joined us as the Skateboarding Ambassadors and one day one, we were off to a tour of the BATA Shoe Museum's sneaker culture exhibit.
Tom backing the gold Nikes Michael Johnson wore in the ’96 Olympics.
Can’t have a sneaker exhibit without Js.
Eli and Tom peeping a video on sneaker culture.
The design and architecture out front.
After lunch it was a whirlwind tour of T-Dot's most pinnacle sneaker boutiques: Livestock and Adrift, where 5 panels and buckets appeared to be the hot ticket next to, of course, the myriad colorful, limited-edition kicks covering the walls. Last stop of the tour was Community 54, who's owner Joel is straight comedy. The coffee shop in the front of the house was a nice touch too.
The most expensive kicks in Adrift? These white paint dipped Converse.
The graff’d up backyard of Community 54.
Brad Clarke out front of Community 54 in lovely Parkdale, Toronto.
After a couple hours of relaxation at our hotel, we were back on the streets of T-Dot, this time Goodfellas Gallery for the official Weapon launch. Drinks, charcuterie, and previews of the shoes with some solid hip-hop DJs got us warmed up. Then the musical acts began. Long Beach's own Vince Staples kicked things off. I hadn't heard of him prior to this, but look him up. The beats were nice and so was his stage presence. Next up, OG Company Flow emcee El-P. Some familiar faces from NYC's LES, especially Max Fish, were on stage with El-P. Dude is hilarious and had a rock element to his raps. At times it felt like stand up comedy and El was zinging some fools in the crowd.
Tom approves of the spread.
One of the hors d’oeuvres servers was obviously ready for Ghostface.
Eli and Brad sliding into party mode. Get it?
CONS tops dropping with the Weapon shoe.
Russ Pope and Tom. Staying nice and light out ’til late in T-Dot.
Eli coolin’ outside the Goodfellas Gallery.
El-P killed it!
GFK took the stage.
Finally, what we were all waiting for, Tony Starks came out with Sheek from The Lox and blew the roof off the place. It’s Wu-Block! And they played some joints off the slept on 2012 album. Of course all the classics were there: C.R.E.A.M, Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthin' To Fuck With, One, and he finished the set with Might Healthy—the second half of which was done acapella (!)
Ghost is down for the skaters. “Instagram that,” @realghostfacekillah
The saddest photo I ever did shoot. Tom grabbed GFK as he left the stage and my damn Canon G12 didn’t focus. Fail.
We were all fried after that—one long day. Friday, we hit The Baitshop for a demo on its mini ramp courtesy of Eli, Tom, and some ripping locals. Next thing we knew we were sliding through customs back in the T.O. airport heading home. Toronto is dope, the CONS Weapons are fresh (I got the black and white joints), and hopefully I'll be back on those streets sometime soon.
Tom on the Baitshop mini. Frontside ollie.
Eli’s homage to Eric Dressen, salad grind.
Tommy with that proper Smith dip.
Eli, switch five-0.