The Charlie is Louis Vuitton’s First Unisex Sneaker and Most Sustainable Silhouette To Date
Following on the heels of the Virgil Abloh-designed upcycled men’s LV Trainer set to launch later this year for Louis Vuitton, the French luxury house has announced a new sneaker that’s not only its first-ever unisex shoe but also its most eco-friendly silhouette to date: the Louis Vuitton Charlie Sneaker made with 90% sustainable materials.
The sneaker’s smooth white upper is constructed using a mix of recycled and bio-based materials, specifically, as other publications have noted, recycled polyester and a layer of the corn-based plastic Biopolioli. Nylon waste sourced from fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastic were used to develop the regenerated nylon ECONYL for the large LV logo and branding found on the tongue and back heel. Upcycled elements are used for the LV logo on the inner tongue, while the outsole is developed from recycled rubber.
Louis Vuitton did not stop at just the sneaker itself. The Charlie is shipped using the house’s signature packaging inspired by its oldest trunks but updated with an eco-friendly twist. The box materials use 40% recycled fibers and are issued from sustainable, FSC-certified forest. As the Forest Stewardship Council notes, a FSC certification “ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits.”
The Louis Vuitton Charlie Sneaker is meant to be a test model as the company continues to implement more eco-design within its process. Louis Vuitton Global Head of Sustainability, Christelle Capdupuy, told WWD that the Charlie is a result after a life cycle analysis was conducted on five men’s shoes last year. “This allowed us to identify the levers to reduce the environmental impact of our shoes, and the Charlie is the result of all this scientific, technical work that has been done,” said Capdupuy.
Louis Vuitton’s ongoing Earth-friendly efforts are all part of the luxury house’s “Our Committed Journey” sustainability plan announced in September 2020. In alignment with the LVMH LIFE program, the company aims to preserve natural resources and protect biodiversity with its material sourcing and management. Positively impacting society and supporting the communities that the brand works with through programs and training is also a key component for a more sustainable future for luxury, an industry that seems to evolve slower to eco-conscious efforts than other industries.
The outcome of these efforts include Abloh’s “Felt Line” capsule collection crafted from a mix of recycled and organic materials, as well as being on track for reaching targets such as recycling or reusing all materials used from its fashion shows and reaching 100% responsibly-sourced raw materials by 2025. Expect more to come from the French house as more sustainable products become available. These drops seem to not be lip service for the eco-conscious but smaller releases meant to understand the scale of a company-wide conversion to eco-design.
The Louis Vuitton Charlie Sneaker will be available as a high-top ($1,130 USD) and a low-top (about $1,080 USD), and it is set to release on November 12 with pre-order open on regional Louis Vuitton sites now.
In other news, check out PARO Store’s SS21 lookbook which features a number of independent, eco-conscious brands.