Repurposed, with Kevin Concepts
by Ian Peterson·
Happy Earth Day 2022, LIKELIHOOD Community!
This year, we wanted to focus on the ways in which the fashion industry (both retailers and consumers alike) can make a more sustainable impact through the reduction or repurposing of product/material waste. We reached out to Kevin Bui - also known as Kevin Concepts - who is a self-taught creative/maker who enjoys creating DIY projects based around sneaker culture. Inspired by his time in footwear retail, he wanted to explore the various ways to sustainably repurpose materials that were often tossed. His works range from upcycled shoeboxes to repurposed sneaker scraps. Kevin has since created his own brand - Notions For You - and a wide range of free templates for everyone to use to create their own repurposed shoe box bricolage, including a planter and "tisshoe" box - to name a few.
Over at LIKELIHOOD, we were lucky enough to speak with Kevin to learn more about his story, the inspiration behind his projects, and how it all ties back to a more sustainable world.
Q: With it being Earth day, how important do you feel it is to repurpose old garments rather than bring in new ones?
A: I think it's beneficial not only to the environment but to yourself to try to repurpose old garments. Not only can you save some money but you can explore your creative side and try to turn a worn garment into a 1:1 piece that only you have. What’s better than affordability and exclusivity?
Q: Do you have a project you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to yet? Any collaboration you’ve been dreaming of?
A: Definitely! I’ve been wanting to incorporate upcycled garments and footwear into furniture. I used to create sneaker coffee tables so I’d love to revisit that idea and create a series of unique home goods that extends the sneaker and fashion world into home goods and furniture.
Q: I noticed you’ve recently put a lot of time into redesigning Boston Birkenstocks… the lightning bolt and skeleton designs are amazing! What made you choose the Bostons to become the consistent canvas for the idea?
A: Birkenstocks have always been a consistent piece in my footwear rotation but recently I realized that the simple upper serves as a great canvas for post embellishment. I think there’s a lot of potential for the Boston silhouette and I’d love to see more artists reinterpret it. I have some concepts ready to go that I can’t wait to share.
Q: What’s a sneaker design you’ve seen in the past year that impacted your way of thinking in your own work?
A: A sneaker from the past year that has impacted my work would be that Patta x Nike Air Max 1. It’s an incredible sneaker that provides a unique twist to an iconic silhouette. By altering the mudguard of the Air Max 1 they created a beautiful new interpretation. I feel like this has helped me with my recent work on Birkenstocks. The changes I’m making aren’t incredibly drastic but enough to create conversations.
Q: If you could only wear one sneaker for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: At this point in life, I’ve fallen in love with the Jordan 1 Low in the OG cut. I think it's versatile and comfortable enough for me to wear for the rest of my life. This answer will probably change by next year haha.
Q: One of your more recognizable creations is the cardholder. If price didn’t matter, what shoe would you most want to turn into a wallet?
A: Probably the Paris Dunks to hurt some feelings….just kidding haha. I’d love to turn an Off White Jordan 1 into a wallet. I think it would be interesting to deconstruct the already “deconstructed” silhouette and then reconstruct it into a wallet. If anyone has a scrap upper send it my way haha.
Interested in working on your own repurposed shoe box project? You can find all of Kevin's free templates using this link here.