The fight against AIDS in Africa has produced yet another initiative. Converse recently joined Armani, the Gap, American Express, and other major brands in support of Product RED. Spearheaded by everyone’s favorite African spokesman, Bono of U2, and Bobby Shriver (Chairman of DATA â€“ Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa ), Product RED is an economic initiative “designed to deliver sustainable flow of private sector money to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria”. The first model in the Converse RED Collection is the Chuck Taylor All Star mudcloth shoe designed by UK designer Giles Deacon and inspired by Nakunte Diarra, a renowned mudcloth artist and storyteller since the 1950â€™s who originates from Mali. Bogolanfini, the mud-dyed cloth of the Bamana people of Mali, is a living art form, constantly changing, reflecting new inspirations, while paying homage to the past.
The Converse RED Chuck Taylor All Star African Mudcloth shoe debuted on April 1, 2006 and retails for $295. It will be available at specialty stores in the UK, online globally at the Converse online store and exclusively at Barneyâ€™s in the US (New York and Los Angeles). A portion of the proceeds from the Converse RED Mudcloth shoes and will benefit The Global Fund.