Converse 70’s Renew Shoes: Sustainable Footwear
Launched in the summer of 2019, the Converse Renew line focuses on giving waste a second life in support of sustainability and innovation. Maintaining their classic appeal, Converse remain true to their original hi-top and low cut footwear designs but have worked to incorporate recycled and upcycled materials to demonstrate the actions they’re taking to adopt more conscious practise within their footwear collections.
Following on from their first release of Renew designs created with uppers made from 100% recycled polyester woven from used plastic bottles, the second collection entitled Converse Renew Denim focuses on using vintage denim that has been worn, loved and passed on, sourced through cult second-hand store Beyond Retro. Known for their vast selection of second-hand clothing and accessories available through their extensive online catalogue and physical shops located in the UK and Sweden, Beyond Retro sorts over one million pairs of jeans per month which they re-sell and upcycle to help increase their lifespan. Not only doing good for the planet in comparison to conventional styles but also appealing to anyone who is seeking one-off footwear styles, a unique selling point of each edition of both the Converse CTAS 70's Hi Renew Denim and Converse CTAS 70's Ox Renew Denim shoes is that no two will be the same as a result of how each of the jeans has been originally constructed, washed and worn throughout time.
Rethinking not only the material that each shoe is made from but also the finer details of how material waste can be further reduced, the usual embossed leather Chuck Taylor All Star patch has been removed with a matching screen printed emblem in its place on the Renew Denim CTAS 70’s Hi silhouette. Metal eyelets remain to encourage ventilation on the inner panel and to hold the lace fastening in place whilst the tongue has also been cut from vintage denim in a lighter shade that differs from the dark wash outer sections. Contrasting topstitching flows across the border of either shoe and signature rubber toe caps sit at the front of the foot to provide protection from abrasion. Not immediately noticeable at first glance, the rubber tread has a subtle all-over speckled surface which signifies that it has been made from recycled materials but still maintains its reliable high traction finish for wear across a variety of terrains.
As a test to experiment the possibilities of circular design within footwear and to promote how fabric that may otherwise be sent to landfill can be put to use, the Converse Renew project encourages us to think about how we use and discard materials and what impact this has on the environment. Following the tagline of ‘There’s Always A Way To Renew What We Do’ Converse expresses a confidence in their ability to remain relevant and timeless whilst also keeping up with consumer demands and current discussions within the apparel industry.
Gaining a large amount of attention from the press, Converse sees their new footwear line as an opportunity to educate customers on the difference between standard textile and recycled textile production and how they can bring a new lease of life to what they already own. In celebration of the Renew project’s launch last summer which introduced the first CTAS 70’s Renew Shoes in ozone bluem wheat and moss colourways with 100% recycled nylon uppers, metal hardware replace with embroidered details and a recycled outsole, Converse held an event in Coal Drop’s Yard, London where they used the pop-up space to educate their customers on the innovative 4-step recycling process. In tune with popular DIY trends for the year and an increased demand for individuals to express their unique selves through customised apparel and footwear, more recently Converse invited young creatives to visit the main innovation space in Boston, USA where they repurposed old items of clothing that were no longer worn into their own individual footwear styles.
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