To create a hook up sneaker upper between Garrixon studio X Vibram using a pre-made outsole provided by Vibram.
The design contest for the brief was held at the beginning of lockdown in Spring 2020 for the United Kingdom. My story and concept for my entry started when I was inspired by the amount of news reports, stating how the standstill in human movement allowed air pollution around the world to decrease and create some historical moments in man kinds history in the last handful of decades...
Among the dramatic changes was in North India where the Himalayas could be seen for the first time in 30 years. On top of this in New Delhi the India Gate war memorial was in clear view with no haze. These and so many other stories like it in the news showed everyone how every step we take on this planet truly does affect the air and earth around us.
However, lockdown also produced some environmental nightmares. In the United Kingdom it was reported there was a surge in fly tipping during lockdown, I also experienced and saw first hand on walks in local parks an increase in waste on the ground and scattered around bins.
The truth was, humans lowered movement but not environmental damage.
This took me to think about the product life cycle, how a product can be made with brand
new materials, but could soon end up in a landfill, a junkyard...or worse abandoned
anywhere available. I wanted to design a sneaker which used trims, fabrics and materials
which already existed or could be made using recycled components only.
My inspiration for the shapes came from traditional sneaker uppers as some components
would be re-used from existing footwear and from shapes found where products
Why Junkyards? I wanted to really push an idea of the sneakers coming from a junkyard to remove stigma around reusing materials and components from existing products. Consumers will know what a junkyard is, and I wanted to push a message that in a place known for housing broken or disused items, we can find inspiration and materials.
Inspiration for shapes/construction
Re-use / recycled fabrics
Old sneaker components
Outsole choices from Vibram
I chose the Kakkoi outsole to base my sneaker upper with because I wanted to create a sneaker which visibly gave the appearance of being a chunky outsole. I also like the mixture between the trail running grips so the sneaker would be adapt at stepping on various terrains.
Dog tag branding
Along with the sneaker upper I also wanted the footwear to come with a collectible dog tag. The design of a dog on the front of one of the tags was inspired to pay homage to the iconic defender of a junkyard, the doberman itself.
The recycled metal dog tags work both as a collectible to the consumer but can also have the sneaker number engraved onto the back, once the consumer if finished with the sneaker they are encouraged to return the footwear to the brand so it can be responsibly up-cycled into a new product, the dog tags are allowed to be kept and to identify which pairs have been returned.
Materials for the mesh and Sherpa are gathered by collecting donated or discarded clothing and sorting into piles of colours/shades. The materials are then used on the sneaker to create the upper base and trims from old sneakers are used if colour matched to base fabric - it means each sneaker will take time to create but each pair of sneakers will be unique in colour/fabric and trims. Anything that cannot be found can be made using recycled fabrics if required. Colourway possibilities are only limited by fabric availability...