Sneakerhead tradition could be very a lot alive and nicely, and our insatiable want for kicks is aware of no bounds.
However what many people won’t acknowledge is that there’s additionally an unimaginable quantity of waste within the shoe business and that greater than 300 million pairs of sneakers get thrown away within the US every year. As soon as they hit the landfill, they take wherever within the neighborhood of 30-40 years to decompose. Nonetheless, the midsoles of your favourite sneakers get made with ethylene vinyl acetate, and that may take upwards of 1,000 years to fully biodegrade.
Kengos is a brand new earthy-friendly shoe model seeking to problem the wasteful established order, launching on Earth Day 2021. Their first pair of kicks—the Lace Up—goes dwell right now, they usually describe it because the shoe that “wears out gradual, however breaks down quick.” By consciously contemplating the atmosphere it will get manufactured, Kengos needs to push the business ahead and problem how we produce sneakers.
Your typical pair of sneakers are made with greater than 20 parts and may contain greater than 300 steps within the manufacturing course of. Kengos retains it fairly easy with a knit higher produced from eucalyptus, a pure cork footbed, a Pure Flex rubber outsole, and corn within the laces and webbing (corn can be part of the knit higher). They don’t use nylons or polyesters, adhesives, animal merchandise, or artificial rubbers, and the sneakers get made with their patented 1knot building. That means, they’ll get simply disassembled for recycling at a later date. Presently, the model is 87% plant-based, however they intend to achieve 100% by the top of 2022.
To assist launch the sneaker upstart, Kengos labored with New York Metropolis-based branding and design company The Working Assembly to create the visible identification and packaging.
“Many manufacturers that say they’re sustainable must push the standard sustainability tropes–earthy, neutrals, natural, and clear,” says Rachel Wilkinson, Working Meeting lead designer on Kengos. “So the enjoyable downside to unravel grew to become creating an identification that stood out with out falling into the everyday sustainability symbols.”
You might finest describe the emblem as “completely imperfect.” With its handwritten wordmark, they not solely incorporate the 1knot whipstitching course of utilized in making the sneakers however our personal human nature, giving it a private really feel that highlights the handcrafted high quality. That theme of imperfection will get weaved all through the design system, in addition to a highlight on what’s human-made and nature-made. Iconography makes use of natural shapes and geometric strains in concord, whereas artwork course makes use of pure environments paired with vibrant colours you can’t actually discover in nature.
The packaging additionally does plenty of the sustainable lifting for the model. If you consider it, while you order a pair of sneakers, they arrive inside a field with tissue paper, cardboard inserts, plastic baggies, tags, and an entire lot of different materials you don’t really want. Oh, yeah, and that shoebox is normally shipped inside one other field.
Right here, The Working Meeting stripped down the unboxing expertise to the necessities. For starters, they used recycled cardboard for the packaging and as minimal dimensions as they may. The field the sneakers are available in can be the transport container, they usually managed to eliminate tapes and adhesives whereas additionally using plant-based inks. The field additionally encompasses a tearaway strip that takes components from the shoe’s trademark whipstitch look, in addition to a colourful illustration of the sneakers. Inside, shoppers are greeted by the model’s messaging round sustainability and the supplies that comprise the shoe.
“Leverage design to eradicate waste,” says Dave Costello, Kengos founder. “That is the way in which we approached all the product design and growth course of, and our method to packaging was no completely different. We partnered carefully with The Working Meeting to eradicate as a lot materials as attainable from our packaging whereas reaching the supposed end result, defending our sneakers throughout supply, and speaking our model ethos to our shoppers.”
By minimizing the parts within the sneakers and packaging, Kengos gives the business with a roadmap to create a shoe that’s genuinely higher for the atmosphere. And while you’re all achieved, you possibly can ship it again to them, the place they recycle as a lot of the shoe as attainable, utilizing items to assist create new sneakers and retaining as a lot as they’ll from going to waste.
“Not often does an organization come alongside that truly challenges the established order in a very optimistic means,” says Lawrence O’Toole, The Working Meeting head of design. “Kengos does simply that, and the staff was open to contemporary concepts round learn how to replicate their genuine ethos by way of visible identification and packaging. It’s been extremely satisfying for us to ship a model system that delivers on and extends this disruptive nature.“
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