Creating and developing a sustainable brand is an ever-evolving process, in which we, as creators and designers, are in a constant search for new materials and processes that bring more environmental and health benefits, while also adding value to our brand.
We love to work with natural materials like cotton, hemp, cork, wool, linen and leather. However, these traditional materials are obtained using new resources.
Innovation has brought us materials like recycled rubber and, more recently, recycled cotton, which we now use to line several of our models, particularly for the warmer months. But while recycled cotton is a fantastic sustainable material and a joy to work with, but still it isn’t possible to weave a 100% recycled cotton fabric, which is sufficiently durable for our use. In most cases it is mainly mixed with Polyester, that for us isn’t an option.
In 2019, Mukishoes took part of a fashion show at Portugal Fashion where we collaborated with the up-and-coming designer Ashma Karki, who crafted her collection from what would have been considered industry leftovers – textile materials that were considered production surpluses or simply unused by brands, but which were in perfect condition. This experience was very inspiring to us, as we were somewhat unaware that these fabrics, most of which are of premium quality, were available for use.
Seeing as shoes use amounts of fabric which are much smaller than those necessary to create clothes like jackets and trousers, it seemed like a natural step for us to follow in her footsteps and take a chance on repurposing fabrics previously discarded by the industry.
That is one of the main innovations we present this Spring – upcycled fabrics – used in the models Storm and Aqua.
With this innovation, we make an impact on our use of resources and the waste created by the industry at large, so we decided it was a good subject to inform and debate about in our Less is More series.
Our new upcycled fabric only exists because the industry does create waste: large brands usually order excessive quantities of each fabric. Furthermore, whole sheets of fabrics and even rolls are discarded if more than three faults or defects are found, no matter how small they might be.
For us, using materials that already exist is an eco-friendly solution that takes less resources, reduces the number of fabric preparation processes and ultimately has a great, positive impact on the environment.
Moreover, it also allows us to work with colours and textures that might not have crossed our minds or paths, and that is a real treasure.