Louis Vuitton launches sustainable corn sneakers
Who would have thought that a vegetable would lead to Louis Vuitton’s next bestseller?
Yes, you read that right. The French luxury brand unveiled the new Charlie sneakers, a unisex design made from 90% recycled and bio-based materials. This includes Biopolioli, a corn-based plastic, which is found in the uppers of shoes.
Biopolioli is just the latest bio-based material to make waves in the fashion world. Hermes has a mushroom leather handbag in the works, while brands like Chanel, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger have recently experimented with vegan leather materials derived from apples, pineapples and grapes. It is clear that the notion of “luxury” is changing in the face of the climate crisis and that innovation in ecological materials is now becoming a priority for brands as large as Louis Vuitton.
This brings us back to Charlie, which is LV’s greenest sneaker offering to date. The soles are made of at least 94 percent recycled rubber; the laces are made entirely from recycled fibers; and the tongue patch uses Econyl, a renewable nylon fabric that has also been championed by Prada and Burberry.
The craftsmanship was not compromised either; each pair of Charlie sneakers is produced in Louis Vuitton’s workshop in Fiesso d’Artico, Italy.
Feeding the growing demand for vegan sneakers
With Charlie, Louis Vuitton enters the market for sustainable luxury sneakers. It’s already populated by Gucci, which earlier this year launched a line of sneakers made from its own vegan material.
Balenciaga, another notable rival to LV, also released a pair of leatherless shoes that went viral last year. French brand Veja, meanwhile, has grown into a million dollar company over the past two years thanks to its ethical and eco-friendly kicks, which often come with luxury prizes.
For Louis Vuitton, the Charlie sneakers follow on from its LV Trainer Upcycling Spring / Summer 2021 collection. Menswear designer Virgil Abloh has taken old pairs of the Maison’s iconic sneakers, taken them apart and turned them into all new models. These shoes have become a staple for fans of the brand, as it often happens with everything Abloh is creatively involved in.
Can Charlie sneakers compete with LV sneakers in popularity? We have reason to think so, especially if the brand promotes the shoes through its influential ambassadors like the K-Pop boyband BTS. Either way, the shoes are a step in the right direction. The French brand describes them as “vibrant to the rhythm of modern times”.
Where to buy Louis Vuitton Charlie sneakers in Singapore
The Charlie sneakers will be released in Louis Vuitton boutiques around the world on Friday, November 12. In Singapore, find them at LV stores at ION Orchard and Ngee Ann City, or at the flagship Island Maison store at Marina Bay Sands. You can also get your hands on a pair online.
For now, the shoes are offered in just one colourway: white with black and gray accents. They come in low and high versions and can be worn by both men and women. Take a closer look below.
Header photo credit: Louis Vuitton