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Helen Kirkum Made Lime Bikes and Trainer Tags Chic at London Fashion Week

by Miette Dsouza

Helen Kirkum’s Assemblages Collection for London Fashion Week AW24 was a sustainable fashion lovers dream. 

Although seeing a Lime Bike make its way into London Fashion Week was not on my bingo card this year it was a welcome surprise and somehow fit seamlessly into Helen Kirkum’s ethos of sustainability.

The Lime bike definitely stood out in juxtaposition to the avant-garde fashion Kirkum showcased but the point it made was louder than the lime green colour it sports.  

Lime bike’s motto is to build a carbon-free future which is why this sponsorship worked perfectly with Kirkum’s approach to slow fashion. The bike which is synonymous with a lot of London’s landscapes added a touch of urban utopia too and showed us what a world with reclaimed clothing and eco-friendly transportation could look like.

Assemblages cobbles together almost entirely pre-existing materials and objects to create wearable art. This is sourced from Kirkum’s studio, through networks of creatives, or via TRAID; which is a charity that aims to give second-hand clothes a new lease of life and make the fashion industry more fair for garment workers.

In previous presentations, Kirkum mostly curated sustainable shoes fully made from matted shoelaces and bags made from recycled shoe parts. 

However, this season, the brand pushed the boundaries of creativity and even explored creating headpieces, hats and clothes out of salvaged footwear and clothes. 

Crochet cat ear beanies have been quite popular over winter and Helen recreated it with knotted shoelaces. This was probably one of my favourite pieces from the collection and one I would definitely want in my wardrobe. 

As I walked around the presentation at the Old Selfridge Hotel, a model adorned with a shiny silver chainmail headpiece caught my eye. But upon closer inspection, the chainmail headpiece was actually delicately curated with shoe tags. There is no doubt Kirkum is innovative but creating a whole accessory out of shoe tags is beyond impressive.

To showcase the amount of waste fast fashion produces, Kirkum also erected six-foot plastic potato sacks filled with old shoes. This served as a harsh reminder of our reality and made me wonder about how many more duffle bags of shoes end up in landfills. 

If just one designer could find so many discarded shoes it puts into perspective how many more shoes could be salvaged if more designers did the same. Kirkum definitely achieved its goal of encouraging its viewers to imagine a world with the possibilities of repair and transformation whilst encouraging them to be more conscious about their consumption.

Of course, we can’t forget about the actual shoes, the very canvas on which Helen Kirkum was built. Kirkum usually uses neutral colours like black, white, grey or brown when creating Frankenstein shoes but this time the use of yellow and orange to create reclaimed footwear was a lovely pop of colour to the collection. It also reminded me of the colours under the tear-away Airforce 1’s which reveals a new colour as a part of the shoe gets worn out.

This collection was deeper than previous ones as Kirkum actively attempted to patch together the dream of a greener tomorrow and make a statement about the fashion industry’s linear state of consumption. Kirkum has never failed to impress and just like last time has delivered again which is why the brand is slowly becoming a name that is synonymous with sustainable fashion.

Edited by Emily Duff

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