In 2015, Italian sneaker brand Superga launched its first collaboration with a South African designer, the Thailand-born Chu Suwannapha, who festooned the sneakers with his signature African-inspired prints.
This year, Superga has teamed with Pichulik, a Cape Town-based handmade jewelry label known for its distinctive use of rope, metal and stones, to create three limited-edition sneakers.
The collaboration was initiated by Superga’s marketing manager in South Africa, Katy Ward, who explained, “Superga has done many collaborations with fashion designers and I realized that it was time to step it up a notch by working with a jewelry designer.” So she reached out to Katherine-Mary Pichulik, the label’s founder and designer.
In designing the mini-collection, Pichulik drew inspiration from the three cities she cited as having shaped the evolution of her brand. The three resulting designs — Souk, Azzurro and Downtown — all embody elements that evoke the spirit of each city.
“Souk,” for instance, is a tribute to Istanbul and the espadrille-based platform sneaker features rose gold, nudes and brass embellishments.
The energy of New York is the starting point for Downtown, a black-and-gold platform sneaker. Pichulik used braided rope to signify the braiding shops in Brooklyn, while the gold accents echo the hoops and medallions the designer said “are emblematic of street accessories.”
Portofino is the inspiration for “Azzuro,” which draws on Superga’s Italian heritage. The only unisex shoe in the range, Azzuro is a classic sneaker featuring yellows and nautical blues against white, with the striped rope detail emphasizing its nautical appeal.
The limited-edition range dropped in Superga stores and online last month, as well as at certain Superga licensees internationally, retailing from 1,099 to 1,499 South African rand, or $89 to $120.