Branding
Thursday April 22, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Kengos Doesn’t Just Want To Change How We Make Shoes, But The Way We Package Them, Too | Dieline


Sneakerhead tradition may be very a lot alive and effectively, and our insatiable want for kicks is aware of no bounds.

However what many people won’t acknowledge is that there’s additionally an unbelievable quantity of waste within the shoe trade and that greater than 300 million pairs of footwear get thrown away within the US every year. As soon as they hit the landfill, they take wherever within the neighborhood of 30-40 years to decompose. Nonetheless, the midsoles of your favourite sneakers get made with ethylene vinyl acetate, and that may take upwards of 1,000 years to fully biodegrade.

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Kengos is a brand new earthy-friendly shoe model trying to problem the wasteful establishment, launching on Earth Day 2021. Their first pair of kicks—the Lace Up—goes stay at the moment, and so they describe it because the shoe that “wears out sluggish, however breaks down quick.” By consciously contemplating the setting it will get manufactured, Kengos desires to push the trade ahead and problem how we produce footwear.

Your typical pair of sneakers are made with greater than 20 elements and may contain greater than 300 steps within the manufacturing course of. Kengos retains it fairly easy with a knit higher made out of eucalyptus, a pure cork footbed, a Pure Flex rubber outsole, and corn within the laces and webbing (corn can be part of the knit higher). They don’t use nylons or polyesters, adhesives, animal merchandise, or artificial rubbers, and the footwear get made with their patented 1knot development. That method, they’ll get simply disassembled for recycling at a later date. At the moment, the model is 87% plant-based, however they intend to succeed in 100% by the tip of 2022.

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To assist launch the sneaker upstart, Kengos labored with New York Metropolis-based branding and design company The Working Assembly to create the visible identification and packaging.

“Many manufacturers that say they’re sustainable must push the standard sustainability tropes–earthy, neutrals, natural, and clear,” says Rachel Wilkinson, Working Meeting lead designer on Kengos. “So the enjoyable downside to resolve grew to become creating an identification that stood out with out falling into the standard sustainability symbols.”

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You could possibly finest describe the emblem as “completely imperfect.” With its handwritten wordmark, they not solely incorporate the 1knot whipstitching course of utilized in making the footwear however our personal human nature, giving it a private really feel that highlights the handcrafted high quality. That theme of imperfection will get weaved all through the design system, in addition to a highlight on what’s human-made and nature-made. Iconography makes use of natural shapes and geometric traces in concord, whereas artwork path makes use of pure environments paired with vibrant colours that you would be able to’t actually discover in nature.

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The packaging additionally does loads of the sustainable lifting for the model. If you concentrate on it, once you order a pair of footwear, they arrive inside a field with tissue paper, cardboard inserts, plastic baggies, tags, and an entire lot of different materials you don’t actually need. Oh, yeah, and that shoebox is often shipped inside one other field.

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Right here, The Working Meeting stripped down the unboxing expertise to the necessities. For starters, they used recycled cardboard for the packaging and as minimal dimensions as they may. The field the footwear are available can be the transport container, and so they managed to cast off tapes and adhesives whereas additionally using plant-based inks. The field additionally encompasses a tearaway strip that takes parts from the shoe’s trademark whipstitch look, in addition to a colourful illustration of the sneakers. Inside, customers are greeted by the model’s messaging round sustainability and the supplies that comprise the shoe.

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“Leverage design to eradicate waste,” says Dave Costello, Kengos founder. “That is the best way we approached the complete product design and improvement course of, and our strategy to packaging was no totally different. We partnered intently with The Working Meeting to eradicate as a lot materials as attainable from our packaging whereas attaining the meant consequence, defending our footwear throughout supply, and speaking our model ethos to our customers.”

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By minimizing the elements within the footwear and packaging, Kengos supplies the trade with a roadmap to create a shoe that’s genuinely higher for the setting. And once you’re all finished, you’ll be able to ship it again to them, the place they recycle as a lot of the shoe as attainable, utilizing items to assist create new footwear and holding as a lot as they’ll from going to waste.

“Hardly ever does an organization come alongside that truly challenges the established order in a really optimistic method,” says Lawrence O’Toole, The Working Meeting head of design. “Kengos does simply that, and the crew was open to recent concepts round tips on how to mirror their genuine ethos by way of visible identification and packaging. It’s been extremely satisfying for us to ship a model system that delivers on and extends this disruptive nature.“

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