Sperry topsiders fashion style

Sperry topsiders fashion style

Published: 00:39 BST, 6 April 2012 | Updated: 01:10 BST, 6 April 2012



You may know them simply as boat shoes, but they officially go by the name of Sperry Top-Sider, an iconic sailing loafer that fell out of popularity with the cool kids for most of the Nineties.

However a few years ago, the New England boat shoe and city-kid sneaker met, giving the hipsters and the prepsters something to agree on.

After more than a decade of floundering, the Top-Sider has made a substantial return to popularity, with limited-edition pairs selling for 0 on eBay, off-duty celebrities like Blake Lively, Pharrell Williams and Kayne West seen kicking around in them, and numerous collaborations with brands like J. Crew and Band of Outsiders.

Berry Sperry: The Band of Outsiders collaboration with the company helped to catapult the Top-Sider shoe back into fashion

Berry Sperry: The Band of Outsiders collaboration with the company helped to catapult the Top-Sider shoe back into fashion

In a classic comeback story, the shoe that rose to its fashion height during the Eighties, helped by appearances in several John Hughes films, eventually became a symbol for the fashion victim that was worn only by old men who sipped cocktails on their yachts.

'Top-Sider' was then dropped from the Sperry company name in hopes of distancing the brand from the Eighties and finding a new consumer audience.

After a while, in-house designers at Sperry began playing with the look of the shoe, introducing new silhouettes and materials. Then, a few years ago, high-profile designers came calling.

Looking for classic heritage brands, designers put Top-Siders on the New York runways, which over the last four years has transformed the stodgy staple into a bonafide fashion statement

Blake Lively in her Sperry Top-Sider'sPharrell Williams wearing his Sperry Top-Sider's

Style set: The Sperry Top-Sider has been seen on off-duty celebrities like Blake Lively (left) and Pharrell Williams (right)

One of the company's best fashion coups came in the form of California-based label Band of Outsiders, known for well-made, tailored clothes with a street edge.

The label's designer Scott Sternberg approached Sperry in 2008 needing shoes for his male models at New York Fashion Week.

Mr Sternberg recalled to The Boston Globe: 'At that point they did not have their mojo back.

'But I would always wear Top-Siders myself, and they’ll hate me for saying this, but I would get them for cheap at DSW. I paid .99 for them, and I loved them.'

Karen Walker featured Sperry Top-sider lookalikes in her spring 2010 collection, and last summer Japanese streetwear company A Bathing Ape partnered with Sperry on a limited edition shoe that now sells for upward of 0 on eBay.

Then this year, designer Michelle Smith of label Milly, famous for its country-club-coll cocktail dresses, teamed up with Sperry Top-siders on a capsule collection that set a many feet sailing with joy.

Meanwhile, J.Crew added Sperry to its stores, the shoe company teamed up with local outerwear company Penfield, and recently opened a store on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Details magazine fashion market director Matthew Marden told The Boston Globe: 'What I’ve seen time and time again is a more traditional brand try to reinvent itself and change their product into something it’s not. But they're doing it just right.

'I think it’s safe to say that Sperry is having a moment.'

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