Vintage can be cool, but rebuilding something old into something new can re-energize and create remarkable and unique design.
Just as Recycling, Upcycling and Biodegradation can all reduce the environmental impact that product has on the environment. Rebuilding is also another good opportunity for environmental impact reduction and one which can also add much character to product.
A good example of value added rebuilding in footwear, is the repair service offered by 100 year old Whites Boots company from Spokane, Washington. Such a philosophy not only reduces environmental impact, but also creates a very rich aesthetic juxtaposition of old and new.
Very popular in Japan, ironically I discovered Whites Boots in a Japanese Magazine while living in nearby Oregon.
They say that “The greenest building is the one that’s already built”, because far greater energy resources and pollution is created when building a new home, than when refurbishing an old one. Not only are old homes often made from higher quality materials, but unnecessary waste is created when knocking one down to make room a new one.
Warehouse conversions have become very popular because of their unusual contradictory charm, and with some vision the same can be achieved from footwear.
Performance Rebuilding has already become popular on other products including the automotive and motorcycle industry.
Deus ex Machina doing the same for motorcycles.
Worth considering is also the huge automotive aftermarket parts market and it’s profit margins. Not only are replacement car body parts like fenders very expensive compared to the vehicle’s overall value, but there is also a big tuning market for performance parts such as alloy wheels and suspension.
So how would this apply to footwear? What would an old upper look like on the latest technology sole? Maybe one that is 3D Printed at retail.
For example an old Clarks Wallabee could be rebuilt on soles from a Designer/Artist Series for added value.
Updating the old design with greater expression and new graphic dynamism. Additionally if the soles were 3D printed the consumer could personalized the tilt and compactness of the sole texture, by simply moving a dial on the 3D computer program (as in the 2 examples above).
Athletic footwear brands are already Mashup-ing their retro product to create new expression and the old meets new aesthetic is already popular.
What if Athletic footwear brands offered a resoling service charging $50-100 for the latest technology sole (which costs maybe $10-20)? Leveraging good design to elevate the perceived value of each sole and adding new character to an old shoe.
What if you could send your old Reebok Classic, which you’ve kept boxed up somewhere in your garage for years and get it back refurbished looking like this?
‘Make Memories Not Junk’ was an important Maxim at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit earlier this month. Some main themes of the summit were ‘ethical and fair business’ and ‘rebuilding trust between makers and consumers’.
At the summit a code of conduct also referred to as ‘NICE’ (Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical) was presented as a guide to the fashion industry.
Article 12 of the states the following:-
Businesses and their designers must work actively to encourage and support sustainable design and design processes.