En Noir designer and creative director Rob Garcia, a former sneaker aficionado, has gravitated toward wearing other footwear styles. But that didn’t deter him from lending his vision to a pair of Puma silhouettes for a collab that would satisfy both luxury consumer and the sneakerhead.
“If I’m going to wear a sneaker, it has to stay true to how I dress aesthetically. Essentially, these are sneakers for who I was growing up and who I’ve become later on in life,” Garcia told Footwear News.
The collaboration, which he described as a balance between high fashion and sneaker streetwear culture, was executed on Puma’s Ignite EvoKnit and Clyde looks. The two black monochromatic looks are an expression of his “seize the night” mantra, represented by the words Carpe Noctem stitched into each shoe.
“Things come alive in the nighttime for me creatively more than any other time,” Garcia explained.
For someone who doesn’t wear sneakers often, Garcia admitted making kicks that look stellar with jeans was a constant thought throughout his design process.
“Sometimes sneakers look better with a sweatpant, a trackpant, or something like that. But today, I’m wearing the EvoKnit with jeans, and it looks great,” Garcia said. “The way the jeans stack over the EvoKnit looks better than I could have imaged. And because they look right with jeans, I knew they would look right with sweatpants or trackpants.”
But Garcia’s design prowess and ability to merge streetwear with high fashion alone didn’t make collaboration attractive to Puma. The athletic label found similarities in its identity and the En Noir brand’s DNA.
“We’ve had things [in the past] like Puma Social, where we celebrate nightlife and people looking to have fun. And Rob’s concept with Carpe Noctem was an automatic fit,” David Ballin, Puma North America’s team head for regional creation, told FN. “We love to celebrate having a good time and [Garcia’s] Carpe Noctem is about seizing the night and making sure you live every night to the fullest.”
And Puma ensured it would continue to live life to the fullest with En Noir beyond this one collab. Ballin and Garcia confirmed an all-white Ignite EvoKnit will arrive in August, and more sneakers — with an accompanying apparel collection — will drop in fall ’17. The latter will feature a new Puma silhouette that has not yet hit the market.
The Puma Ignite EvoKnit En Noir and the Clyde Fleur de Lis En Noir arrive Wednesday and retail for $180 and $110, respectively. The shoes can be picked up at Barneys, Footaction and the Puma Lab powered by Foot Locker.