Mixed with our news, deep-dives, profiles and other forms of content, FUTUREVVORLD will often spotlight a growing number of Earth-friendlier products releasing throughout the weeks ahead. These projects may not be perfect, but we believe they are moving the needle in the right direction.
Renowned for its natural dyes and handwoven materials, STORY mfg.’s first foray into footwear sees Reebok’s brand-defining Club C sneaker and cult-favorite Beatnik sandal reworked for the great outdoors with a vegan, partial plant-based construction.
One-half of the husband-and-wife duo behind the artisanal brand, Saeed Al-Rubeyi says the partnership centered on his preferred meditative practice: walking.
“This project was focused on our love of walking, nature and the outdoors. We came up with the brand on a walk together and whenever we need to think creatively, we go on a walk and hash things out,” said Saeed in a statement on Reebok.com. “Walking is our meditation and as we pound the pavement, we pick our brains for inspiration – we forage for wisdom. These versions of the Club C and Beatnik are slubby-gummy-peacey and friendly, without being foolish – like us.”
Although the two pairs may not be entirely “like us,” in that they weren’t made at the same compound in India where the majority of STORY mfg.’s clothing collections are handmade with local craftspeople, the shoes do push Reebok deeper into the discussion of eco-conscious footwear.
“Given the reins to imagine a couple of classics, we wanted to do something with plant-based uppers,” Saeed told FUTUREVVORLD. “The Club C and Beatnik we did are both shoes I love and always loved, but could never find vegan [versions I’d wear].”
Both vegan shoes are built with an undyed, woven linen blend upper, embroidered with a signature STORY mfg. peace sign on the lateral sides. What’s more is the Beatnik’s pared-down design reduces any excess plastic, while the removable back strap allows the shoe to be transformed into a mule, adding a level of versatility that extends its life.
Although this may be STORY mfg.’s first footwear launch, Reebok has continually added new innovations to its list of Earth-friendlier sneakers and sportswear. Last year, as part of its REEGROW program, Reebok released a plant-based performance running sneaker, the Forever Floatride GROW.
“We expect to be able to use more plant-based alternatives for our products moving forward and we’ll move fast in this space,” said Reebok Product Director Emily Mullins at the time of the Floatride’s release. “We have a responsibility and opportunity to help the planet. It’s the right thing to do.” Surely enlisting the prowess, and dedication, of STORY mfg. will keep this mission alive within the company.
Elsewhere, last week also presented us with a look at STORY mfg.’s Autumn/Winter 2021 collection. Titled “Make Worlds,” the seasonal range continues to explore the use of organic dyes and handmade craftsmanship, staples of the clothier since its inception in 2013.
“This collection (and all of them, always) has really been a celebration of artistry and craft,” said Co-Founder and wife of Saeed, Katy Al-Rubeyi, on the brand’s website. “We’ve made STORY mfg. into a kind of residency for artists – one that doesn’t make you breakfast but does provide space to challenge and connect new dots.”
For AW21, traditional natural dye methods are matched with modern machine-cut shapes to create new resist patterns. Wax batik artists collaborated with tie-dye specialists, resulting in unique, 3D-looking prints that aren’t actually prints at all but a “negative dye.” Block printers connected with illustrators — like frequent collaborator, artist Will Gaynor — to highlight the ritual of handprinting.
You can see the entire collection at storymfg.com, with select pre-orders kicking off later this week on February 5. The full collection will launch this summer.