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Helen Kirkum
Footwear Designer

Footwear , Fashion


Helen Kirkum is the young sneaker creative making new silhouettes from discarded footwear parts and unwanted materials. She’s leading the charge in the push for sustainability in the footwear industry, both as an independent artist and as a collaborator alongside athleticwear brand adidas.

Kirkum considers herself a “sneaker collagist” rather than an artist or designer, although her creations are definitely wearable works of art. “It kind of gives you the overall picture of what I am trying to achieve into quite precise words,” she told HYPEBAE in an interview. “I felt like especially for me, I like to think of my work as something that is very artistic, it is design, it is customizing, it is collage. It’s just kind of everything mixed together in one phrase.”

As an independent label, Kirkum takes custom orders from consumers who reach out to her through her website or Instagram. She takes special requests from fans who look to revamp old favorites that have been worn out. As a collaborator, especially with brands like adidas, Kirkum is informing the industry that the practice of repurposing materials to create new sneakers is definitely achievable at both the independent and corporate levels.

It’s still too early to tell if sustainability in footwear will decrease the global footprint of some of the world’s biggest athleticwear brands. However, it’s visionaries like Kirkum who look to influence younger designers to rethink the way things are made in relation to how it will affect the environment. With exhibitions, more collaborations and press added to her accomplishments this year, Kirkum is definitely a name to watch out for in footwear in the next few years.

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