Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

Scrappy Style

Monday, August 11, 2014

From time to time, my day job takes me to Nairobi, a city I did not love upon first visit, but have come to appreciate over time. Both the weather and social climate can feel cool at first and take some getting used to.

I should note that in addition to reserved Kenyan culture, security threats add to the chilly atmosphere. Sporadic fire bombings in markets, the horrific attack on Westgate Mall last year and a general sense of terror linger, and have left a legacy of tedious and not very reassuring security all over the city. Armed private security staff stand guard at every mall, hotel and office building entrance, metal detectors abound and before any car may enter a parking lot, the trunk must be popped and a mirror run under the perimeter of the vehicle, presumably in search of hidden explosives.

A few years ago, I got stuck in Nairobi for 10 days when a volcano erupted in Iceland and sent up a cloud of ash that drifted East and grounded all flights crossing over Europe. The forced safari pushed me to really get to know the city, and everything it had to offer. That’s how I discovered the chaotic warmth of Kenyatta market, a bustling open air bazaar comprised of food and clothing stalls and, of course, informal barber shops and hair braiding salons.

Front and center when you enter Kenyatta sit several cobblers, racks of shoes before them. A couple of weeks ago, while having a lovely lunch of grilled chicken and goat ribs, I noticed that my colleague, Lynda, had on a stunning pair of shoes. “Where did you get those?!” I asked.  So she took me to Kenyatta and we marched straight over to the cobblers.

photo 1

Lynda’s shoes

The shoe guys had a nice little set up with an old singer sewing machine, that reminded me of a very early dispatch from Malawi. Lynda showed me the big bag of cloth scraps from which we could select fabric.

photo 2

Picking out fabric scraps

Once we had made our choices, we browsed the finished shoes on the cobbler’s rack and selected styles. Then he traced my foot. Two days later, I had two new pairs of shoes, including a pair modeled after Lynda’s with the same batik print. What I love about these shoes is that they recycle fabric remains (likely a deal the cobblers have set up with dressmakers in the market) and that the reuse is so one of a kind. My shoes, though identical in style and print to Linda’s, have their own asymmetrical charm as the fabric scraps are laid out slightly differently on my shoes than on hers.

photo 4

Making my shoes

Next time I need to figure out a way to upcycle fabric scraps without the use of toxic shoe glue. In the meantime, I can’t wait to wear my new kicks!

Paper shoes

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

If you are not already a regular reader, Art for Housewives should be part of your daily diet of nifty blog intake. Last night I discovered these lovely recycled paper shoes via A for H (nice to look at, though a bit steep in price given the materials…perhaps I’ll try to weave my own).

Paper shoes by Colin Lin

You may recall the same source led me to these hot fused plastic boots. It’s been an interesting year for upcycled footwear.

ReCORK America

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ReCORK America is a recycling project of Amorim, a Portugese company and the world’s largest cork supplier. According to a spokesman for the company, the program has collected over four million corks to date…and counting. This week, they partnered with SOLE, a footwear company that will use the corks as a base for their shoes.

Recycled corks

Recycled corks

I am usually very skeptical of green business press releases, but I really like this idea. Cork is such a useful material. It’s such a shame that so much ends up in the trash. Californians can donate wine corks to the project at these locations.

Weekly Compactor: blogroll edition

Friday, July 17, 2009

This week around the garblogosphere:

If you don’t already, you might consider subscribing to the blogs above.

Make Art, Not Trash

Monday, February 23, 2009

I’m not quite sure how to describe Make Art Not Trash links.  It’s an online collage, a blog in one page and a time-sucking portal for any trashie.  Here are some things I’ve discovered via this…installation.

Made in the Philippines

Made in the Philippines

A chair made of shoes.

Untitled, plastic bottle with Bondo glue and paint, 2000


Blob-like sculptures made of plastic bottles.

Keybag Red

Keybag Red

A keyboard turned handbag.

maison martin margiela

maison martin margiela

A halter top fashioned from vintage gloves.

Cassette Wallet

Cassette Wallet

And wallets made out of old cassette tapes. Those last two items are both via design boom, a site to bookmark for a day when the economy bounces back (or to keep an eye on now for DIY knock-off inspiration).

Here’s that Make Art Not Trash link once again.  Happy Web surfing.

UPDATE: just figured out that Make Art Not Trash links is just one page of the site Make Art Not Trash run by Cynthia Korzekwa of Art for Housewives fame.  What a Web presence!

Weekly Compactor

Friday, February 15, 2008

niketrash2.jpg This week in trash news:

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