Originally created for athletes in the throes of the industrial revolution, sneakers have become a pillar of fashion, function, and effortless self-expression donned by people from all walks of life.
According to Nicholas Smith, author of “Kicks: The Great American Story of Sneakers,” there’s something magical about shoes. From Air Jordan ads to fairytales, shoes have carried on a mystique, he told “Smithsonian Magazine.” “What makes Cinderella a princess? The magic glass slipper. What makes Dorothy come back from the land of Oz? The ruby slippers.”
The figurative magic can become almost literal with the right pair of sneakers. Thanks to America’s fascination and fandom with the kicks, there are lots of new sneaker collabs hitting the market this year. Here are a few of the season’s most iconic footwear.
Adidas x Marvel
This spring, Adidas also teamed up with Marvel to release an Avenger inspired shoe line as part of the brand’s “Heroes Among Us” sneaker collection. The line includes six limited edition designs, and two styles created through a collaboration with artist Jen Bartel. The Adidas x Jen Bartel designs are inspired by Captain Marvel and Thanos and the launch of “Avengers: Endgame.”
The Captain Marvel sneakers are fashioned with Adidas’ signature stripes and the star-shaped insignia, in gold. The Thanos’ design is modeled after the character’s purple hue, and features an infinity stone design on the heels. Both are outfitted with the Marvel logo, and available exclusively at Footlocker.
Adidas Yeezy 350 Glow V2
The hotly anticipated glow-in-the-dark sneakers are the latest design to come out of the Adidas Yeezy line. Since the original release of the 350 v2 models last year — which feature a similar transparent mesh stripe from toe-to-heal — the Boosts’ have been the hype of footwear, according to Sneaker News. The Adidas Yeezy collection previously released the 350 Boost in three colors: clay, hyperspace, and TRFRM. The newest neon green style comes with the popular transparent stripe and is glow-in-the-dark so they’re even more attention-grabbing when the lights are off.
The sneakers are set for release on May 25, 2019, and come in kids, infant, and adult sizes.
Nike x Steve Harrington’s Earth Day Collection
This colorful collaboration between Nike and Steve Harrington, a Los-Angeles based artist known for his Californian “psychedelic-pop aesthetic,” was born from a shared commitment to sustainability. Released on April 22, the Earth Day Collection includes some of Nike’s most iconic styles, such as the “Air Force 1,” “Cortez,” and “Blazer Low.”
All styles in the line feature a globe, and Harrington’s signature palm trees and cartoon dog. Each of the three designs are set on a clean and classy, all-white sneaker with variations of white or blue outsoles.
The sneakers are constructed with Nike’s Flyleather innovation, which according to the company is “made with at least 50 percent leather fiber [and] looks and feels like regular leather.”
Reebok x Alien Stomper 40th-Anniversary OG
The unisex sneakers are a homage to the 1979 sci-fi film, “Alien,” and are modeled from the creators’ original prototypes. The upgraded, 40th-anniversary design features the classic Reebok logo and is made with premium aged leather — perfect for the retro look. The high-ankle design also comes with midfoot and ankle straps (of course!) and a rubber outsole to complete the vintage silhouette.
The special issue stompers come in a “Space Fleets” box with a certificate of authenticity. The sneakers were released on April 26th, and are available on Reebok.com.
Star Wars x Adidas Crazy 1
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Adidas is joining forces with Star Wars for yet another high-profile partnership this year. The Star Wars x Adidas basketball collection is set to include two pairs of sneakers, a hoodie and a long sleeve top. It is expected to drop this summer, just a few months before the release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” this December.
Little is known about the design, but the Star Wars sneaks are also said to be modeled after Adidas’ “Dame 5” and “Crazy 1,” originally known as “The Kobe.” One preview, provided by @DirtyMoney823, shows the Crazy 1, or “Galactic Empire,” with a sleek black and red design, glossy print, textured laces, and an Empire logo on the lip.
Supreme x Air Jordan 14
According to multiple sources such as Sole Collector and Sneaker News, the highly celebrated union between the two brands is rumored to be back with a new collaboration. Little details, including the release date, are known. However, the sneaker is said to come in two different colorways, and is styled after the Air Jordan 14, the legendary shoes worn by Michael Jordan while he played for the Chicago Bulls — and inspired Nike’s “It’s Gotta Be the Shoes” ad campaign.
Vans x Bowie
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The Vans x Bowie collection features a limited line of shoes and clothing inspired by David Bowie’s many reinventions. Those include tributes to his alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust; the 1969 single, “Space Oddity;” both the “Honky Dory” and “Blackstar” album covers, and the “Aladdin Sane” lightning bolt.
The unisex sneakers come in six different styles, such as the platform sneaker, and a collectible shoebox. The shoes are available for adults, kids, and toddlers.
The Best Looks from the ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’ Pink Carpet
Affectionally dubbed “the Oscars of fashion,” the Met Gala is an annual benefit event for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The extravagant event is known for its exclusive guest list, its expensive tickets, and its extravagant outfits.
Inspired by Susan Sontag‘s 1964 essay, which defines camp as “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration,” this year’s exhibition, titled “Camp: Notes on Fashion” features both men’s and womenswear, the exhibition will feature over 200 pieces of fashion from designers including Virgil Abloh, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Rei Kawakubo, Mugler, Bob Mackie, Karl Lagerfeld, and more. The Viktor & Rolf slogan couture gowns that sparked an endless stream of memes will also be on display.
This year, the event was fittingly sponsored by Gucci and hosted by Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, and Anna Wintour.
Embracing the glittery, the tacky, the over-the-top, the gender-bending and the taboo, camp is an aesthetic that flies in the face of Western hetero notions of respectability and good taste, and looks good doing it. The celebrities on the red carpet didn’t disappoint — think over-the-top silhouettes and eccentric styling.
From Lady Gaga’s four outfit changes on the fabulously fitting pink carpet to Jared Leto carrying his own head, we’ve put together a few of our favorite interpretations of camp to celebrate the Costume Institute’s new exhibition.
Lady GaGa in Brandon Maxwell and Tiffany’s
Harry Styles in Gucci
Serena Williams in Atelier Versace and Nike x Off-White sneakers
Florence Walsh in Gucci
Emily Blunt in Michael Kors
Emily Ratajkowski in Dundas
Kendal and Kylie Jenner in Versace Atelier
Céline Dion in Oscar de la Renta
Cardi B in Thom Browne
Jared Leto in Gucci
Katy Perry in Moschino
Naomi Campbell in Valentino Couture
“Camp: Notes on Fashion” opens to the public on Thursday, May 9.
Haute Hemp: Levi’s + Outerknown Create Sustainable Collection with Cottonized Hemp
Two fashion icons have joined forces to create a sustainable closed-loop clothing line with garments made from cottonized hemp.
Two fashion icons have joined forces to create a sustainable closed-loop clothing line with garments made from recycled cotton, and a revolutionary product, cottonized hemp.
The collection is a collaboration between Levi’s Wellthread clothing line and the eco-friendly California-based surfwear brand, Outerknown — founded by surf legend, Kelly Slater and acclaimed designer John Moore.
The spring and summer 2019 collections feature super chic, classic styles like Levi’s iconic western shirt, slim fit jeans, board shorts, and trucker jackets.
All garments in the line are made from sustainably sourced materials, such as nylon, and cottonized hemp. Cottonized hemp is made from a combination of the two fabrics, which are woven together and specially designed to feel soft.
Levi’s partnered with fiber technology specialists to create the smooth textured fabric in a process called “cottonization.” The innovative process “softens the fiber — using very little energy or chemical processing — to make it look, and more importantly feel, almost indistinguishable from cotton,” according to the company’s “Off the Cuff” page.
The creation of cottonized hemp is an important step toward sustainable fashion. The industry at large is infamous for being one of the largest users and polluters of water. The use of hemp, which takes considerably less H2O to grow, could drastically decrease the water consumption required to produce a single piece of clothing.
The hemp used is sourced from a rain-fed crop, reports Levi’s, and “thereby reduced the water used in fiber cultivation by roughly 30 percent.”
A pair of jeans or a trucker jacket from the collection incorporates a 70:30 cotton-to-cottonized hemp blend.
The line will be the first to feature cottonized hemp jeans, according to Levi Strauss and Co.
The collection’s 511 slim cut jeans are made from denim that’s woven with Tencel and Refibra technology. According to Tencel.com, the “technology involves upcycling a substantial proportion of cotton scraps […], in addition to wood pulp, where the raw material is transformed to produce new virgin TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers […].”
Jeans are also made using Levi’s new operating model, Project F.L.X. — a digitalized denim finishing system that drastically reduces the water, time, and chemicals needed to make each pair.
Board shorts — which come in washed indigo, or vintage sun prints — are 100 percent recyclable. The shorts — the eyelets, core, stiching, buttons — are made entirely from single-fiber nylon, “meaning it can theoretically be recycled in perpetuity and re-made into other nylon garments, thus achieving the closed-loop recyclability that has long eluded apparel companies,” reports the Levi Strauss Co.
Levi’s Wellthread x Outerknown collection in an intersection of the two brand’s multi-pronged approach to sustainability, which goes beyond the use of recycled materials alone. All garments in the line are produced in facilities that embrace Levi Strauss & Co.’s Worker Well-Being programs. Programs, which were established in 2011, give employees access to resources including health, financial, and family planning services.
Fashion Week Disruptors Are Designing a Fashionable Future
Environmentalist Advocate for Sustainable Styles at London Fashion Week
Extinction Rebellion is the international social movement focuses on climate change mitigation, conservation, and environmental protection. It’s members advocate for radical change through nonviolent protests under the motto “Rebel for Life.”
Protesters from showed up at this year’s London Fashion Week to call attention to the fashion industry’s collateral impact on the planet, and urge the British Fashion Council to declare a climate change emergency.
As models walked the runway to showcase the top designers’ fall 2019 collections, Extinction Rebellion demonstrators held their own catwalks, wore grass coats, and chanted and held signs that read, “There’s no fashion on a dead planet,” and “The climate is changing, so should we.”
Approximately 150 people demonstrated, using themselves as human blockades to cause disruption at events like Victoria’s Beckham’s show.
Wearing on the Environment
The fashion industry as a whole is among the most pollutive on earth.
According to Qauntis Intelligence’s “Measuring Fashion: Global Impact Study,” apparel and footwear industries generated between 5-10 percent of global pollution impacts in 2016. The study found dyeing and finishing materials, and fiber production to be the biggest drivers of pollution due to their effect on freshwater supplies, use of toxic chemicals, and the energy required to fuel operations.
The World Resource Institute reports that “about 20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to garment manufacturing, while the world uses […] 1.3 trillion gallons of water each year for fabric dyeing alone, enough to fill two million Olympic-sized swimming pools.”
In total, it takes 659 gallons of water to make one T-shirt, according to the Water Footprint Calculator; A pair of jeans takes 2,108 gallons; cotton bedsheets, 2,839; and leather shoes, 3,626. The average lifespan of these garments falls between 3-6 years.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest figures show Americans toss out 16 million tons of textiles; nearly 11 million goes directly to landfills. Waste is only expected to rise as apparel consumption is expected to grow 63 percent by 2030.
Designers also destroy millions of dollars of unsold stock every year. A 2018 Forbes’ report uncovers “Fashion’s Dirty Little Secret;” the piece described how companies including Burberry, H&M, and Nike regularly burn or ruin their products.
Where There’s Need, There’s Opportunity
Thanks to movements like Extinction Rebellion — who target the industry not only for its wastefulness but its potential to be a leader in sustainability — eco-friendly fashions are on trend.
Ethical apparel is a $5 billion dollar market in the U.S., reports Inc.com. “Google trends shows that searches for “sustainable fashion” are rising faster and more steadily than searches for “organic food”,” the site added.
Sustainability is a top priority for customers purchasing fashionable items. It’s becoming a priority for the brands that make them, too.
According to the “Pulse of Fashion” report, 75 percent of companies within the industry made progress. The annual report measures the industry’s environmental and social impact — or pulse — on a scale of 1-100. As per the report:
“In the past year, the Pulse Score of the fashion industry improved from 32 to 38 […]. The Pulse Survey […] confirms that the topic is rising on the industry’s agenda. Of the executives polled, 52 percent reported that sustainability targets acted as a guiding principle for nearly every strategic decision they made – an increase of 18 percentage points from last year .”
“Eco-friendly fashion involves so much more than a label simply being environmentally conscious,” reports InStyle Magazine. “It spans across the entire production line, from the materials your clothing is made from to the factories the clothes are made in.”
Sustainable materials include hemp, linen, or organic cotton, known to require significantly less chemicals, water and energy to produce.
Reused or recycled materials are among the most eco-friendly (and affordable) fashion alternatives. One of the best ways to reduce waste is to purchase clothing at secondhand shops. Brands that offer the ability to rent or sell used clothing — like Rent the Runway, ThredUp and the RealReal — are growing in popularity.
Brands like Reformation, Veja, and Patagonia, and luxury styles from Stella McCartney, and Rag and Bone, offer clothing made from recycled or ethically sourced materials. Plus, the hemp clothing revolution is producing fashion-forward brands like THTC and Seeker.
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