We could talk about the hits, we could talk about the plaques, but today on his birthday we’ll stick to the kicks. Mostly known for his risky but rewarding fashion sense, how does it feel to be Pharrell? “He dresses insane – but his music admire, ask Anna Wintour from Vogue and Esquire,” Skateboard P has more than earned his seat in fashion’s front row.
While recent work with adidas is getting him more cred in the sneaker realm — and well deserved — the man on the mic and behind the boards has been getting it done on the foot his whole career. In celebration of his recently released NMD collection, we offer a brand-by-brand breakdown on Pharrell’s favorite kicks in this installment of CSS Spotlight.
A Bathing Ape
A longtime friend of The General, Pharrell was incredibly influential in popularizing A Bathing Ape in the US. His early adoption of Nigo’s clothing line would pave the way for peers like the Clipse, Kanye, Jay Z and countless others to get hip to the Japanese fashion label, with BAPE soon becoming a fixture in hip-hop culture. Aside from just wearing A Bathing Ape, Pharrell collaborated with the brand on a three-pack of Roadsta sneakers.
Reebok Ice Cream
Similar to the partnership between Kanye West and adidas, Pharrell teamed up with Reebok back in the mid-2000s to launch his Ice Cream clothing and footwear line. Footwear would come first, with the $200 Ice Cream Lows turning heads, followed up by the less expensive but more skate-centric Boardflip and Boardflip 2. Because of quality standard concerns, the Ice Cream clothing line never launched under Reebok but rather as its own entity. Nevertheless, P pushed and endorsed his Reebok Ice Cream sneakers on red carpets and in music videos.
Despite never having an official deal with Vans, Skateboard P has long proclaimed his love for the Cali brand. Viewing the shoes as an accessory and a sneaker just the same, Pharrell wore Vans on the regular while touring with N.E.R.D. and Common during his Seeing Sounds/Universal Mind Control era. The low profile silos took well to straight leg denim and slightly outfits that strike as slightly understated by Pharrell standards.
The first footwear collaboration from Pharrell actually happened with Nike. Back in 2004, his group N.E.R.D. launched a Black/Silver take on the Dunk High as part of an artist collection that also featured designs from ESPO and even Halle Berry. He famously wore the original Nike Dunk Low “Viotech” back in the day, later proving an early adapter to Woven, Lunar and LeBron models.