In the past few years, it seems that footwear designers have truly begun to recognize the mutually beneficial promotional power of collaborating with celebrities, fashion houses, and charities not normally associated with fashion. Whether it be the killer collections from Nike X Givenchy, Rita Ora and Adidas, or even 2014’s kick-boxing queen Solange and Puma (sorry Jay-Z), sneaker snobs have a lot to be excited about.
Toronto’s stylish kids who love their pumped up kicks have even more to be excited about than usual this summer, as local fashion house Sully Wong and charity ONEXONE make available their collaboration, the Sully Wong X ONEXONE HOPE Sneaker.
Launched at real estate guru Brad J. Lamb’s 2nd Annual King West Block Party, staff modelled their HOPE shoes as they milled around a room filled with the area’s fashionistas along with local movers and shakers. Featuring bouncing beats, tall drinks, and fabulous food trucks from Rose City Kitchen and Acai Dreamzz, the party was a welcome and exciting reprieve from an otherwise dreary Saturday.
I caught up with Sully Wong co-head designer George Sully, who gave us some details on the collaboration. “ONEXONE came to us and asked if we’d donate a dollar from our next shoe sales. Funnily enough, we said, ‘We’ll do you one more. Why don’t we make you your own shoe because we’re more than just a brand. We’re manufacturers.’ This gives us a lot of leeway to make product fast and furious without the middleman. The design concept to sample took a month and then another month for production. That’s our strength.”
The Sully Wong X ONEXONE HOPE Sneaker aims to raise funds for the ONEXONE Paediatric Wing of the Hospital Mirebelais in Haiti. This is a cause very close to Sully’s heart given his family’s heritage. “I’m Haitian and 50 percent of the proceeds will be going to help the Mirabelais Hospital in Haiti. ONEXONE has donated a lot of time and resources to that. This is just our way of helping.”
The design highlights the charity’s iconic red and black signature colours, with the unisex shoes made from a dye-free, quality natural duck canvas exterior that contrasts a red hand-stitched capsule base. The craftsmanship is exceptional and no detail has been spared, with stand-out features including ONEXONE inspired custom-lace eyelets, premium leather laces, an outer heel and toe thread, and a removable commemorative ONEXONE footpad showcasing the mission statement of the cause along with a photo of the children the funds raised directly benefit. While the shoes are manufactured overseas, Sully Wong regularly visits the factory to ensure transparency and ethical practices are followed. Sully notes, “It’s very important that we took the stand in this collaboration with ONEXONE that, top-to-bottom, everything is done right.”
Given that the Sully Wong X ONEXONE HOPE Sneakers are designer-made and of such superior quality, one would expect a price in the range of $300 to $400 easily. However, they’re available for purchase on Sully Wong’s website for only $150. ONEXONE’s director of marketing and strategic partnerships, Angie Camara, notes, “As a consumer, I can recognize that this shoe is of amazing quality, however we wanted to price this reasonably because it was the first of its kind.” She also notes on the collaboration, “Joey Adler, our founder, believes in businesses using their business for good. Sully Wong, in their business of making shoes, is using their business for good. This year ONEXONE is trying to create a groundswell support to bring out the awareness of the work that we do. In partnering with Brad Lamb and Sully Wong, their potential customers and client-base can really align themselves with this good will. It’s an alignment of businesses aligning to do good.”
Will you be picking up a pair of these Sully Wong X ONEXONE kicks? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.