Converse Inc. announced the limited-edition José Parlá for Converse (PRODUCT)RED Chuck Taylor All Star shoe launching on World AIDS Day – Dec. 1, 2011. A painter, widely acclaimed in the art world, Parlá's collaboration with Converse (PRODUCT)RED is designed to help provide awareness for the fight against AIDS in Africa and encourage consumers to become agents of change, turning art into power. A percentage of the net wholesale price of the shoe will go to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.

“One of the great blank canvases of the world, the Chuck Taylor All Star has been connected with artists for decades,” says Ian Ginoza, Converse Director of First String and Special Projects. “We invited Joséto collaborate with Converse (PRODUCT)RED due to our shared goal of using the power of art to promote change. Parlá's work is also distinctive, uniquely soulful, and a natural fit for the project.”

Internationally renowned, Brooklyn-based artist José Parlá is widely recognized for his distinctive abstract process that blends calligraphy, collage, textures, and color to create paintings with complex themes ranging from urbanization, current events to political divisions. Parlá's paintings frequently serve as symbols that depict his memories of place, observations, moods or a shared stories related to travel and cities around the world.

Using the Chuck Taylor All Star shoe as a canvas, Parlá chose his painting “Ephemeral Pitches, and Notes, Rhythm and Phonetics” to grace the shoe's upper. A striking work, the painting explores constant changes to urban lifestyle and was inspired by abstract noises, music, rhythms, languages and sounds of cities. Selected by Parlá in recognition of the change that is part of the mission of (RED), the painting's themes also represent a nod to Parlá's days of youth wearing Chuck Taylor All Star shoes to play basketball, dance and have fun.

“Wearing Chuck Taylor All Star shoes as a kid, I never imagined that one day there would be such an awful disease like AIDS and that, as an artist, I could help fight by collaborating with Converse.  Life brings you surprises and the best surprise would be that one-day the cure for AIDS is found.  For now, I invite people to join Converse (PRODUCT) RED in the effort to help prevent more casualties, and become an agent of change,” says José Parlá.

Using an extremely high-tech laser printing technique, the  “Ephemeral Pitches, and Notes, Rhythm and Phonetics”  print is carefully color matched for an immaculate, vivid representation of Parlá's original piece in natural tones of tan, yellow and grey. Parlá's signature can be found on the shoe's footbed as well as a repeat calligraphy pattern along the shoe's lining. The shoe's outsole also receives a unique painted treatment, giving nod to the artist at work in his studio. High-level construction throughout, the shoe's design is completed with natural color laces and the signature Converse (PRODUCT)RED top eyelet.

Converse First String is a limited-edition collection that celebrates craftsmanship, authenticity and collaboration at the highest level. Only 500 of the José Parlá for Converse (PRODUCT)RED Chuck Taylor All Star shoes will be available, beginning on World AIDS Day – December 1, 2011 at Converse First String retailers globally. Shoes will retail for a MSRP of $100 and will be available in unisex sizing 3 – 13.