Designer Sunni Dixon has unveiled a new project focused on upcycling for his emerging footwear label Sunni Sunni.
Called “REconstruct 1,” the collection is the Brooklyn-based label’s first capsule featuring upcycled, recycled, and repurposed footwear. According to Dixon, the REconstruct 1 collection repurposes second life materials along with recycled fabrics to create new designs.
“The aesthetic of the collection reintroduces mainstream footwear including municipal worker protective gear and secondhand fashion footwear,” he said. “These are most commonly seen at thrift stores and consignment shops. However, they are reinvented and raised to a fresh interpretation of the original with a luxury sense and value. Remaking items while keeping the literal aspects of it pokes fun at an impractical fashion style and gives old items new noise on the streets.”
Dixon, who recently became part of Saks Fifth Avenue’s second emerging designer accelerator program, told FN that the new capsule was born out of his love for creating sustainable and eco-friendly apparel and footwear. “From working as a product developer for sustainable clothing brands to designing my own line, using deadstock, vintage shoe components and upcycled materials has been a major part of my design background,” Dixon said.
He added that when he was creating his label, he was challenged with a lack of resources for the expansion he wished to make, with coronavirus lockdowns beginning five months before he was to launch Sunni Sunni. “I fell short of including these added sectors to my brand at the original launch, but I am now ready for this next journey,” Dixon continued.
As for which styles are included in the project, Dixon said that his signature Reese boot – which as most recently been seen on P. Diddy while hosting the Billboard Music Awards – will anchor the capsule, this time with an eco-friendly twist as the Reese Reconstruct. Made of scraps of leather from last year’s fall 2021 production, Dixon said that the style features missing areas of the upper with scores representing overworn and distressed boots over a lifetime. Three other new boot styles will also be introduced in the capsule.
“The REconstruct 1 capsule collection was inspired from my past and self-education in footwear,” Dixon added. “I would literally deconstruct and reconstruct footwear using all kinds of materials such as: leather and denim jackets, old shoes, socks, t-shirts, nylon jackets, deadstock and later incorporating 3D printed biodegradable TPU for my heels.”
Asked whether REconstruct will remain part of his brand, Dixon told FN that the capsule would not be a seasonal offering, but he maintained that this will also not be his last eco-friendly project. “Personally, I want to normalize this instead of crowding my collections with messaging,” he said. “We get it now, and those who don’t must not care too much.”
“I plan to incorporate many components to the wider material mix of my footwear while increasing its ethical value,” Dixon continued. “The design community just has to continue to be creative. I will continue showing my customer and audience from season to season beginning with my REconstruct 1 capsule collection the creative ways to accomplish these endeavors.”
Sunni Sunni’s new REconstruct 1 footwear collection will be available in early October Sunnisunni.com and Saksfifthavenue.com.