Crocs: Making Ugly Sexy!
Seen as a fashion disaster until recently, the rotund Crocs have plummeted to instant fame almost overnight
The signature foam clogs with holes punched in them made a fashionable appearance at a prominent show this year. Demna Gvasalia, Creative Director of the Spanish fashion house, Balenciaga, sent models down the runway sporting embellished platform Crocs at his spring summer 2018 collection. And ever since then, everyone seems to want them.
High Fashion Upgrade
Gvasalia’s high-street Crocs are a far cry from the ones that people wear to a market. They come with 10 cm platforms in bright pink and yellow, decorated with charms, stones and flowers. When Balenciaga shared their idea with Crocs, they decided to team up and push the boundaries of design and moulding capabilities to see what they are capable of achieving together. And did it work wonders! Within hours of its online debut, the $850 shoes were completely sold out.
The Colorado-based brand has generally had older women as its largest demographic along with children. When the Balenciaga version was unveiled online, Crocs’ younger audience was quick to give a pretty negative feedback. Vogue called it “funny, freaky and not exactly come-hither” while Highsnobiety asked us to “stop pretending that Balenciaga’s ‘meme-bait’ is cool.”
What was a little unexpected however, were the positive affirmations Crocs’ Instagram page received. It burst with applause from young men and women drooling over the style, and attracted a whopping 10,000-plus likes and more than 2,700 comments.
Crocs & Kane
This is not the first time the hottest shoe of the season has been seen on the runway.
Scottish fashion designer, Christopher Kane collaborated with Crocs for his Spring Summer 2017 collection, encrusted with rhinestones and diamonds. What appealed the most to Kane was the oversized design of the shoe that makes it both stylish and well-rounded. Because of this interest, Kane teamed up with Crocs for three consecutive seasons, adding more fuel to its craze.
French luxury fashion house Maison Margiela also caught on the trend last year; it did a leather take on Crocs the same season. Brands like Birkenstock and Teva have partnered with Crocs to produce some seriously comfortable and funky footwear.
With back-to-back high-end collaborations and positive online reviews, Crocs seems to be riding high on the wave of its new-found popularity. Recently, it released a limited edition version of the Christopher Kane clogs. The affordable range is adorned with luxury embellishments including jewelled charms, ostrich feathers and tiger print patterns. It also carries the label’s signature ‘K’ logo.
Next, Crocs is working to release more oversized, hand-assembled embellishments in the form of florals and butterflies to make the brand even more fashion-forward. Possibly an affordable version of the Balenciaga clogs could be in the offing too!
Capturing the World Market
Crocs never set out to sway the world of fashion. They were originally designed to keep the feet cool and sweat-free on a hot day. The light and springy material with holes allows a breeze to flow through them freely.
Apart from functionality, another compelling feature of these shoes is comfort. The
‘no slip’ grip of the sole and a foam design has made it life-changing for professionals like nurses and cooks who stand on their feet all day. It has also found patronage as ‘indoor shoes’ by families that prefer soft, bacteria-resistant material inside the house.
From their launch in 2002 with measly sales of only $1,000, the company went on to earn more than $200 million from sales in over 40 countries by 2006. A majority of the funds came from strategic licensing deals with National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and Disney.
Now that they have moved from a niche market to widespread wear, Crocs is capitalising on its strength. It has mixed fashion with comfort—two words that rarely go together when it comes to footwear. While some still consider them an aesthetic offense, the thrill to be released from the stranglehold of heels and straps appeals to the fashion-loving tribe.
Off late, everyone from celebrities to fashionistas is rooting for these ‘ugly-cool’ clogs. With more designers working on future mash-ups with Crocs, the ubiquitous spongy shoe is definitely making a classy comeback. Podiatrists—stay alert!