by Miette Dsouza
Helen Kirkum’s presentation at London Fashion Week SS24 showcased her delectably deconstructed collection, ‘Cobbled Together’.
Inside the grey concrete walls of the Old Selfridges Hotel lay the warm embrace of Kirkum’s sustainable shoe paradise. From bags made with Adidas shoes to shoelace chandeliers and Frankenstein footwear, Kirkum’s makeshift apartment had it all.
Helen Kirkum created the brand to ‘curate pieces that raise awareness of post-consumer waste and question people's idea of newness’ whilst always being sustainable through recycling and reusing products.
At London Fashion Week SS24 this luxury footwear brand has magnificently echoed the cadence of their ethos through an immersive exhibit.
Models were free to walk around wearing loafers crafted out of old, salvaged shoelaces which were matted together.
Whilst the models seemingly walked around nonchalantly flipping through the pages of artists’ books, they cleverly drew attention to furniture and framed artwork, which upon closer inspection were also adorned with shoelaces and shoe tongues.
Fashion Week is notorious for being reserved for the upper echelons of society and can feel quite cold especially when seeing looks on antiseptic white runways.
But, at Kirkum’s exhibit, the yellow glow from LED lights, the impasto wallpaper which screamed comfy, and the casual environment felt more welcoming and natural. Since guests were allowed to walk around and immerse themselves in the exhibits, the environment was also more relaxed and Kirkum could not have picked a better way to display all the designs.
Whilst Kirkum is typically known for demonstrating their signature-making process, this time the brand decided to go down a lesser-trodden path.
They highlighted the eco-system that surrounds their products by showcasing their upcoming sneakers and accessories in an immersive home environment. Kirkum’s house featured three separate vignettes filled with vibrant textures and tactile products.
This season Kirkum also debuted their home accessories with a collection of plant pots made using the offcuts of their sneaker production, a three-tiered chandelier made of deadstock shoelaces and cushions made from shoe insoles. Kirkum’s designs reiterates, sustainability in fashion should not be perceived as a hindrance since creativity and innovation should know no boundaries.
When speaking about the collection, Helen Kirkum stated:
“It’s a reflection on our personal relationship with our ever-transforming identities and the fragments that we keep inside. For this collection, we wanted to take a deeper look into our in-house waste streams, and work backwards to create products that have a synergy with the properties of the materials. We’ve woven shoelaces and quilted tongue linings to create new materials that expose the unseen, utilising components we previously couldn’t use in production to expand our product range in an authentic and meaningful way.”
The London-based brand is also exploring new horizons as they transform old shoes into accessories like bags. Through ‘Sneaker Collaged Leather’ the brand has handcrafted tote bags, tool bags, mini bags as well as cross-body bags made entirely of woven and knotted shoelaces or reclaimed tongue linings.
Kirkum takes an apparel item which isn’t known to be thrifted or recycled quite as often and morphs them into wearable art by upcycling and handcrafting it to perfection.