CMMN SWDN Sends Recycled Sneakers Down the Runway — And They Look Like Handmade Pieces of Art

Paris Men’s Fashion Week kicked off today with the CMMN SWDN show. The British streetwear label founded by husband and wife duo Saif and Emma Bakir, swapped their home town of London to show in the City of Light for the first time for spring ’19.

The collection, titled It’s a Jumble Out There, was a statement on the waste and over production that is rife within the fashion industry. Ready-to-wear featured denim and knitwear from previous collections, upcycled and reassembled to create new garments such as wool applique woven onto mesh or printed scans of poplin from old shirts translated onto organza.

CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's
CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's.
CREDIT: Courtesy of CMMN SWDN

Regarding the shoes, the designers worked with Helen Kirkum, who is known for the collage constructions of her recycled sneakers. She deconstructed the label’s fall ‘18 footwear and combined them with details from old sneakers for the ultimate in recycled chic.

“Her thing is to dismantle and reassemble old trainers she gets from charity shops,” Saif explained backstage before the show. “These are often odd shoes as it’s a little known fact that if you don’t tie shoes together when you donate them they can come apart at the sorting facilities and get lost.”

CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's
CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's.
CREDIT: Courtesy of CMMN SWDN
CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's
CMMN SWDN spring '19 at Paris Fashion Week Men's.
CREDIT: Courtesy of CMMN SWDN

The duo gave Kirkum all the leftover shoes from their fall ’18 show and she reassembled them using CMMN SWDN soles together with different pieces from old trainers such as mesh. “She gives shoes a new lease of life so it was a perfect fit for us as we were exactly on the same page with our own collection,” Saif continued.

While they are looking into a way of reproducing them, for now, all are handmade art pieces.  “It was more about making a statement and highlighting the issue,” he said.

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