Coinciding with the rise of repurposed fabrics and visible mending, the Amsterdam-based design studio Peterson Stoop is combating waste in one vector of the fashion industry. The company, which was founded by Jelske Peterson and Jarah Stoop in 2013, salvages worn shoes otherwise destined for landfills—it’s estimated that a single pair of trainers can take 1,000 years to break down—and repurposes them into mules, high-tops, and loafers. Combined with cork, leather, and other natural materials for support, the new shoes highlight the original logos and tattered fabrics through a patchwork of thick seams.
Stoop tells Colossal that the studio sources sneakers from sorting centers, secondhand shops, and retailers with overstock, although it gravitates toward brands like Nike, Adidas, and Converse because of their cultural relevance. “We deconstruct the shoes and rebuild them piece by piece. By re-designing them with traditional techniques, we create an interesting tension between two different worlds,” she says. “At the same time, we are creating a product that is repairable time and again.”
Now offering more than a dozen genderless styles, Peterson Stoop plans to expand its product line with a focus on the materials at hand. Gathering 20 pairs of blue Nike Blazers, for example, inspired a unique collection that maintains the integrity of the initial design with a new, repairable sole. “To see the same shoes worn differently with scuffs, marks, and different tints faded by the sun we documented it for ourselves. By framing so-called identical shoes in one shot, you realize how different, unique, and beautiful they all actually are,” Stoop says.
Peterson Stoop’s shop is stocked with original designs and is open for custom orders. See more of the company’s workspace and upcycling process on Instagram.