What are Common Projects and How to Wear Them

by Jamie Wilson

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

The classic contemporary trainer-brand has taken the luxury market by storm, attracting all sneakerheads from around the globe.

Founded by V Magazine Art Directer Peter Poopat and brand consultant Flavio Girolami, Common Projects has grown in the spotlight of contemporary design, establishing itself as the must-have sneaker brand. Although CP’s beginnings were relatively small, due to the undeveloped hype around luxury trainers, they have grown in time with the rise of popularity, establishing themselves respectively in the luxury trainer market. Retro, High and Low Achilles, white and black, Common Projects trainers come in a range of variations, which are easy to fill the void in any wardrobe.

Although each trainer channels simplicity and quality, they are pretty hard to miss on the street. Gold-foiled on carefully constructed Italian leather, Common Projects is known for its iconic 10 digits, representing European size, colour and style. Stepping away from the norm of a consistent logo – like the Nike Swish, Common Projects provides bespoke individuality to each trainer. With careful construction and seasonless design, Common Projects fills the gap between the Stan Smith and the Gucci trainer, becoming an investment to any wardrobe. High rising in cult status, we have put together the definitive guide to the conservative footwear brand.

Common Projects Achilles Low

It’s the heart and soul design of Common Projects. The Achilles Low have been carefully constructed again and again every season. Considered as the rebirth of the Adidas Stan Smith, CP’s Achilles Low is the signature trainer to the brand.

The Achilles Low are the overnight sensation of the brand. Holding the leading spot in design for minimal colourways, they have become the biggest impact behind the growing fanbase. This year, Adidas released their own single colour Stan Smith trainer in a range of colourways, sending the internet into an uproar, including Hypebeast, who were quick to point out the similarities.

Available in muted and bold vibrant colours for SS16 and more neutral for aw16, the Achilles Low are the go-to design which doesn’t have it’s limits. While this trainer design saturates the footwear market, Common Projects achieves it’s status season after season as the go-to low trainer, with its simplistic shape and iconic digit heel design.

How to Wear Common Projects Achilles Low

The low-cut design makes the Achilles Low an easy option to pair with any outfit. With the ability to be worn seasonly and wear-proof quality, the Achilles Low can easily become your everyday shoe. With simple aesthetics consistent through each season, you can easily wear the trainer through day to night.

To highlight the key detail of  the narrow shape, pair the Achilles Low with wide leg chinos, rolling up the cuffs to create box shape silhouette. Creating this extra legroom shape highlights the delicately of the shoe, and is the beginning of a more contemporary outfit build. Folding up the cuff ideally cropping the chinos draws detail to the shoe, without overshadowing the simplistic design and the staple 10 digit number.

Common Projects Achilles High

Common Projects Achilles High are just as much as a signature trainer line as the Achilles Low’s. They have revolutionised the design of high-top trainers, making just as much of an impact to the brand. Still, with the conservative use of colour and detail, Achilles High make a return near enough every season, in additional palettes and colours.

The Channel-Quilted Collar High Tops

Unlike the Achilles Low, Achille High come in two variations, heavily inspired by the design from some of the top trainers on the market. Starting with the channel-quilted collar, the most popular of the debut which is sure to be making its return for AW 16. The specific detailing of the padded collar and delicate seaming doesn’t exactly differentiate the trainer from most high-tops in the business. However, with the staple 10 digit number and matt leather, the channel-quilted high is the sophistication of hip-hop style.

The Tournament High Tops

Focusing on more of a minimal shoe construction, the Tournament High Tops are the simplicity and comfort at it’s finest. With a padded ankle tab, the Tournament Highs are another recurring design for Common Projects. Heavily inspired by current shoes on the market, Tournament Highs are the heavy inspiration of Vans SK8-Hi’s. Available in singular colours and two-way variations, with the gold-foiled digits, the Tournament High Tops are the CP’s ultimate lifestyle trainer.

How to Wear Common Projects Achilles High

Although having a higher top, the Achille Highs hold consistent simple construction, just like the sister trainer, Low Achilles. With Italian leather from heel to forefoot, tanned leather lining and delicate seams, Common Project Achilles High are the contemporary high-top you need. Thinking of investing in a pair? For a relaxed and a comfortable look, partner the Common Projects High Top trainer with a slim jean.

White Common Projects

They are the signature colour for the Common Projects clan and alternatively are the highest in-demand. White Common Projects seem to make their way into the season… every season – and we know exactly why. Sophisticated, minimal and contemporary, the White Common Projects are the go-to trainer for every trainer sneakerhead and fashion authority. Available in Achilles Lows and Achilles High throughout the year, there is no doubt to why they are popular. Expect to see White Common Projects partnered alongside mute greys and monochrome palettes for AW16.

How to Wear White Common Projects

With the beauty of white, there are no limitations to what you can wear the trainers with. Make the White Common Projects a staple item to your outfit, which isn’t too bold. Pair it with a monochrome look, with a black slim jean or chino. Or to even create more neutral outfit build, partner the trainer with a tan chino or blue jean. If you are wanting to create the modern athleisure look, the White Common Project trainers are the simplistic option.  The white colourway allows you to experiment with a range of colours throughout your outfit, with still the comfort of playing safe.

Black Common Projects

For convenience and ideal for day to day wear, the Black Common Projects are the perfect investment if you are needing that long lasting trainer for the go. The jet black colourway compliments the staple gold 10 digit number, making it unmissable on the street. High in-demand in leather, Black Common Projects have also available in suede and matt leather, providing the opportunity to mix and match with textures.

PHOTO CREDIT: NittyGrittyStore

How to Wear Black Common Projects

Owning the classic pair of Black trainers are just as important, and can become the essential for day and night looks. High or Low, partner Black Common Projects around with tonal colours, pairing with a slim black or grey jean. Easy to wear with  dark prints and patterns, the Black Common Projects can easily become the transitional shoe through seasons.

History of Common Projects

Founded in 2004, Common Projects have changed the game in the luxury trainer brand community. In a saturated market of high tops, low tops, skate and casual, Common Projects have established themselves as conservative, modern and timeless.

You only get to introduce yourself once

– Flavio Gurolami, Co-Founder

Common Projects have come a long way since being formed in creative collaboration of Flavio Gurolami and Peter Poopat ten years ago. The story begins with the two meeting in New Yorks East Village. They both shared the passion and drive for one particular thing, and that was trainers. Being enthusiasts of the Adidas Stan Smith and Converse Chuck Taylor, both Poopat and Gurolami wanted more. They knew the sneakerhead archive was missing something, which held simplicity and redefined design.

With heavy inspiration from their idolised trainer brands, they came together in an attempt to achieve their vision. The aim was to fill the void in the market and create the ultimate trainer of quality, careful construction and style. With the small investment from both Poopat and Gurolami’s pockets, they begin to make this dream sneaker line into reality.

Poopat was based in Italy at the time, which to an advantage, was the heart and soul of shoemaking craftsmanship. Approaching manufacturers, Gurolami and Poopat challenged formal dress shoe maker to produce the first ever pair of Common Project sneakers – knowing they will be able to achieve their vision.

While the first few samples were in the process of being made,  both Poopat and Gurolami had and idea and perfect way to find their niche within the market. Originally the style number and size were located within the tongue of the shoe. This was then switched around the staple heel detail we know today. To balance out the aesthetic, the additional colour number was added, later forming the Common Project 10 digit figure we know today.

It was then in 2004 the first Common Projects collection was born consisting of the famous Achilles Low. Available in  colours white, black and grey, they became a timeless statement piece for any woman’s and men’s wardrobe. Smooth and slick construction, careful detail and rubber leather texture, the first collection lived up to what Gurolami and Poopat sneakerhead vision.

They first showed their collection with the luxury brand Open Ceremony with Humberto Leon. In the height of press and attention, they soon met with Stella Ishii with The News, who in the past, showcased with the likes of Alexander Wang and Philip Lim.

From this, they landed their first order, by Tokyo-based Ships. It was the early beginnings of the rise in demand we know today. With rocky price negotiation from the beginning, Common Projects established itself in the luxury trainer market at a price of an average £350 per a pair.

In 2009 the brand grew, and allowed both Gurolami and Poopat to take a dip in the womanswear market, by launching a full womanswear line. Although womenswear market can be tough to make a name in, it wasn’t a problem for Common Projects. With now a 150 stockists under their feet, they have become the bespoke, leading trainer in design and production.

Noticing the rise in demand, it goes without fail knowing Common Projects has been a huge influence. Today, worn Common Projects are just as much flying off the shelves than brand new. It seem’s every established sneakerhead is in need of a pair for their shoe closet.

By 2010, Common Projects was nothing else but expanding. Designer Robert Geller joined the duo in collaborating with further designs, growing the Common Projects archive. This included Combat Boots for Fall later on that year which became a positive hit for the sneaker brand. The collaboration extended to Spring 2011 with the double Monk Strap trainer, Fall 2014 with the Hiking trainer and lastly Spring 2015 with zip-up Oxford Shoe and Plush Suede Trainers.

To this day Common Projects is still thriving, silently holding the title for premium footwear. The team is still small and well and truly a two person collaborative. Still with Poopat and Gurolami on the frontlines, Common Projects has expanded to small offices in locations of Italy and New York. Expanding stock to bags and statement accessories, they are only just getting started.

Your Quick Guide to Common Projects

  • They are truly timeless and can be versatile between seasons.
  • Built to last – Common Projects quality is constructed to become your day to day trainer.
  • Still bespoke on the market, Common Projects are constantly in demand and quick to sell out, including second-hand.
  • Easy to dress up and dress down, the black and white Leather Achille Lows are your go-to trainer.

On that Note

Common Projects have an exciting future ahead. From Chelsea boots to Slip-on sneakers they have grown into a brand of innovative construction and a seasonless essential to any wardrobe.`

Feature image from Pinterest

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