Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

Cole Haan releases shoes inspired by Slack – to mixed reviews

Who wants their fashion to be inspired by a workplace app?

The Cole Haan x Slack limited-edition Generation Slack ZeroGrand shoes. Courtesy Cole Haan
The Cole Haan x Slack limited-edition Generation Slack ZeroGrand shoes. Courtesy Cole Haan

Fashion label Cole Haan has collaborated with messaging app Slack to create a new line of shoes.

Called the Slack Generation ZeroGrand, the four limited-edition styles are a reworking of Haan’s existing ZeroGrand model, with the sole and sock trim now available in the bright colours of the messaging platform's logo.

Designed in conjunction with the Slack team – via Slack, naturally – the shoes are edged in green, blue, pink or yellow, with a discreet Slack logo on the outside heel.

The limited edition Generation Slack ZeroGrand from Cole Haan, created in conjunction with Slack. Courtesy Cole Haan
The limited-edition Generation Slack ZeroGrand from Cole Haan, created in conjunction with Slack. Courtesy Cole Haan

After being teased online for a few days, with moody, underlit shots, the new designs were officially unveiled on Wednesday, October 7.

The results are not terrible. In an age of increasingly off-kilter collaborations – think of the recent Adidas x Lego line, Ben and Jerry's Nike-inspired ice cream, and edgy designer Telfar teaming up with Uggs – there is perhaps something inevitable about a work app becoming fashion inspiration. In an ever-shifting retail landscape, brands need to constantly evolve to stay relevant and in touch with their digital audience.

Hats off to Haan for reacting so quickly to world events, and for working with a company that has reshaped the office universe in mere months. At the start of the year, a select few had heard of Slack; now you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that's not au fait with its real-time messaging capabilities.

But still, as clever and efficient as Slack may be, it is a work tool, and to date, this not a genre that has inspired much in the way of fashion. Post-It notes may be useful, but who wants to dress like one? A USB stick is invaluable, but it's a stretch to call it fashion forward.

Aimed no doubt at a Generation Z audience, this new candy-coloured offering could well be a big hit, and the limited-edition run will be snapped up by an achingly hip and "ironic" crowd, who will probably show off their purchases via TikTok dances.

For those born before 1990, however, I am going to go out on a limb and say that fashion inspiration will probably come from a different direction.

Updated: October 8, 2020 07:19 PM

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