‘I love them because they are hidious,’ says 24-year-old, Hungarian Croc aficionado, Mark Letenyei, about his Christopher Kane x Crocs shoes. Last week, the American footwear brand surprised their burgeoning fan base with another uncanny collaboration with Chicago-born mega-rapper, Post Malone. His signature edition Dimitri model clogs, dubbed “Posty Crocs”, sold out in 10 minutes.
When customers are willing to pay a whopping $850 for a pair of Balenciaga four-inch platform crocs, and Jonathan Anderson presents elf-like sneakers for Loewe’s SS18 show at Paris Fashion Week, the shock factor of these bizarre creations begins to wane.
CSM Fashion Knit student, Letenyei, adores Christopher Kane’s Croc range. ‘They are so grotesque, big and shapeless but they still look good in a non-commercial way,’ he says. The designer collaboration changed the game for the footwear brand that built its empire on practicality and comfort- it is the epiphany of function meets fashion. Come rain or shine; Letenyei will trot around the design studios in his Tiger clogs- the honey colour on one foot and the ochre on the other because he can’t make up his mind. ‘I’m knitting so much, sometimes ten hours a day, that I need something that is comfortable but still looks good.’ Plus, the shoes are a sure-fire conversation starter. ‘People always stare at the pom-poms and ask me if I am cold,’ he cackles.
Post Malone, whose real name is Austin Richard Post, has been teasing this uncanny collaboration since June. ‘You can tell a lot about a man by the jibbitz on his crocs,’ he told in a tweet. These are the dazzling shoe charms that mothers may treat their children to as a reward for good behaviour. Malone is no stranger to this kind of hype. In October, 02 arena tickets for his first European tour sold out in 30 seconds, which outraged his 4.49 million, twitter followers.
The rapper x footwear brand partnership was such a hit among croc-olytes and Maloners that Crocs released a spoiler alert about dropping new styles. The shoes, which retailed at an affordable $59.99, were embossed with the Posty Co motif on the lateral heels. Malone even offered six custom-designed Jibbitz charms for his fans to swoon over, including the artist’s “Stay Away” face tattoo. However, the baby devil face pattern on the lemon clogs was the talking point of the collection.
This is the third high-profile collaboration by Crocs since Christopher Kane debuted his exclusive marble and gem-encrusted sling back and mink fur trim clogs at his 10th-anniversary show during London Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2017 (SS17). The following year for SS18, Kane ignored the media critique and released a new range of limited-edition Swift water sandals in five colour schemes. ‘It has certainly been the most controversial collaboration I have worked on, which makes it all the more fun,’ says Kane. ‘I enjoy taking risks and going to places other designers wouldn't touch. Nowadays there are so many designer collaborations, it's very important to me that my partnerships stand out and mean something.’
But why are so many of us enticed to buy shoes that are condemned for their repulsive aesthetic? Hype is ubiquitous in the fashion industry, and bad publicity is following suit. Hedi Slimane is the love child of the two- he thrived off the controversy sparked by his SS18 debut collection for Saint Laurent… I mean Celine. Or perhaps, it’s being a part of an exclusive, niche target market that makes wearing ugly footwear so appealing and audacious.