Converse has launched Renew Labs Fitzroy, a circular-focused retail space in Melbourne. The new outlet seeks to reduce its impact on the planet by encouraging customers to extend the life of their clothing or footwear through repair, upcycling, or recycling.
A recent study revealed that an average Australian owns around five pairs of shoes they don’t wear and could eventually end up discarded and taken to landfills. With nearly a quarter of those respondents (24 per cent) admitting to keeping their shoes for sentimental reasons, 50 per cent said they throw their unwanted shoes in the bin.
In bringing the store to life, the company collaborated with its All-Stars, a global community of creatives from its grassroots programs, including installation artist Joshua Space; mixed-medium artist Callum Preston; Collingwood based artist Tamara Leacock; plastic recycling company Precious Plastics; and recycling initiative Treadlightly.
Space installed planters crafted from 100 per cent recycled post-consumer plastic waste, Preston designed a multipurpose mix-medium feature wall that doubles as a product display unit, while Precious Plastics constructed the shoe shelves from recycled plastic.
The retail space will also act as a collection point for sneakers that have reached the end of their wearable life cycle. Treadlightly will collect any unwanted sports shoes to break down and recycle. In this process, reusable components like rubber, leather and fibres are extracted and recycled to manufacture gym mats, floors and playgrounds.
Alongside cleaning, repair, and renew services, the retail space will also host intimate creative workshops with Leacock to help consumers customise their Chucks using recycled PVC threads, embroidery, patches, and eco-friendly dyes.
“At its core, Renew Labs was born from who we are, whom we serve, and the future we all want to see,” states the company on its website.