Common Projects

Tonie Ong

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Articles on Common Projects

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Since the very beginning, fashion has always been geared more towards women. The countless revolutions within the craft and trade have been regarding what women wear, from the silhouette of the dresses to the rigidness of the design. Throughout the 20th century, the fashions for the female population witnessed more changes than those for the men, but from the early 2000’s onwards, things started to change. As the 21st century came about, certain brands and designers started focusing on improving the men’s wardrobe, making it as varied and as diverse as womenswear. Even men’s shoes became very popular, thanks in part to labels like Common Projects.

The company is a shoe manufacturer with a factory in Italy, arguably the home of the finest men’s shoes in the world. Although unlike the black leather or suede numbers the country is prominent for, Common Projects focuses on the more relaxed and more sporty silhouettes, combining both the fine traditions of the past the clamor for urban pieces of the present and possibly future. Their products are usually simple yet sleek, modern yet constructed using traditional methods and procedures of the craft that have helped make some of the world’s finest pairs of footwear through the years.

Prominent Patrons

Like many shoe and sportswear brands, a lot of male celebrities have become eager clients of Common Project. Their sleek and simple offering has attracted a legion of famous faces and personalities who have given the label’s products their own spin. Rapper Kanye West was one of the first superstars to step out in a pair from the label. As one of the most fashion-forward male celebrities, his wearing the label instantly gave them more awareness among the A-list crowd. Soon, other artists such as rapper Jay-Z and singer Nick Jonas were spotted wearing a pair of Common Project shoes.

Other famous customers include actor Alexander Skarsgard, singers John Legend and Joe Jonas, and rapper Drake. Even pop culture influencers such as Scott Disick have worn a pair of the brand countless times. Because of the simplistic approach to design and silhouette, even female celebrities have joined the Common Project bandwagon. A lot of actresses and models have been spotted wearing the brand’s shoes, including supermodels Kate Moss, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, as well as actress Jennifer Aniston. Reality TV stars, some of the most followed celebs today, have also become fans of the label, namely socialite Olivia Palermo and Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

How the Brand Started

Common Projects was built by American Prathan Poopat and Italian Flavio Girolami, an art-director and an creative consultant, respectively, in 2004. Before venturing into the luxury footwear businesses, both men had already known each other through various projects, hence the name of the brand, “Common Projects”. After bumping into each other numerous times, they finally decided to start their own business together in the late 1990’s. Around that time, the footwear industry was having a big buzz, from the elaborate offerings of designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Manolo Blahnik to the more athletic and functional products of Nike and Adidas. Poopat and Girolami wanted to create a shoe that would still be chic but wearable for day-to-day life.


Their most iconic pair to date is the Achilles shoe, a simple pair of sneakers with round tips, available in both high and low cut. Since it was first introduced in 2004, it has become a staple footwear for many wardrobes, and one of the most worn and most photographed pairs of shoes in the 21st century. It’s simplistic design and durability makes it a versatile piece perfect for any occasion. Initially produced in white, it has since been made in different pastel hues and other color combinations. Another bestseller is the “Rec shoe”, released back in 2012. Offered in either leather, rubber, or suede, it’s a dressier rendition of the Achilles, which can be worn at both formal and informal occasions.

Working its Way to Further Success

Although they’ve experienced success all by themselves, the company has engaged in multiple collaborations throughout the years. One of their longest and strongest collaborations was with fashion designer Robert Geller. Together, they released a series of high-cut boots and other footwear that are both rigid and refined, perfect for the menswear clientele of Geller and the more streetwise customers of Common Project. Venturing out of their minimalist comfort zone, they also collaborated with fashion designer Tim Coppens, who gave colorful spins to the brand’s signatures. Retaining their comfortable shapes, their products featured varying hues and unique combinations that are new to footwear altogether.

While the ladies have dresses. stilettos and purses, the man have their sneakers to fawn over, which is what Common Projects offers to them. Their high-quality, often minimalist, and very versatile products have become some of the most beloved footwear in the entire industry. Although a young brand, they’ve amassed a following that can rival those who’ve been big players in the shoe game, such as Converse, Nike, and Adidas. Their sense of refinement and sophisticated approach to design are what sets them apart.

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