It’s no secret that environmentally conscious consumerism is a hot-button issue. Nike’s Move to Zero campaign, a company-wide initiative that sees the brand on a journey toward zero carbon and zero waste emissions, steps up to the plate and attempts to straddle the divide between conscientiousness and consumerism. The Nike Plant Cork Pack, now available on Zalando, is an output of these efforts.
Imagine classic Nike silhouettes, like the Blazer Mid ’77 and Air Force 1 07’, remade with at least 20 percent recycled content by weight, including recycled cork and recycled poly-canvas, and designed with natural plant dye.
The shoes take inspiration from nature not just in their design, but also in their construction. Each shoe is inspired by a specific plant then embroidered with its imagery and dyed using natural pigments culled from plants like pomegranate, indigo, and catechu. Recycled cork is infused into the rubber outsole, as well as used as a decorative motif across the upper.
To usher in the release of the shoes, Nike teamed up with Zalando, where the Plant Cork Pack is now available to buy, to spotlight three fashion upcyclers in Berlin, people who represent the heart of the collection and are dedicating their time to building a sustainably-minded future. The visionary upstarts work with pre-used materials (what a pessimist might call trash) to create stunning new pieces that feel completely new in their own right.
Melissa Minca is an upcycling enthusiast and designer who runs an online shop and an independent fashion label, System Recovery. Minca and a team of designers rework clothes to create one-of-a-kind pieces that don’t contribute to environmental pollution or human exploitation.
Like Minca, Rosa Margdahl is committed to the creation of one-off pieces that breathe new life into old fabrics. Her collective, SF1OG, works with sustainable, second-hand, and recycled materials to build their looks. For Margdahl, the concepts of sustainability and fashion shouldn’t be separate, but rather considered as two inextricably linked ideas.
Emeka is an upcycling brand founded by Sydney Emeka, who aims to bridge the gap between Europe and Africa, the two poles of his heritage, through his clothes. At first glance, you might not know that behind the brand’s sleek tailoring lies an almost entirely waste-free production chain.