Turning STARKs worn workwear into Upcycled Sneakers

Fighting textile waste with a unique story

VAER and STARK have chosen to use STARKs old workwear to make new upcycled sneakers. In the design process, we chose to use workwear with a story - some of the textiles that we have used have old stains, some have an old STARK logo and some have reflectives, each with a unique story. Our manufacturer in Portugal even called us crazy, because some of the textiles were dirty. Maybe we are a little crazy...

All textiles are cut by Hus Forbi - a collaboration with a purpose, as we call it.

Find the shoes in your local STARK shop

STARK Roskilde - Industrivej 33, 4000 Roskilde
STARK Roskilde C - Ringstedgade 68, 4000 Roskilde
STARK Glostrup - Fabriksparken 2, 2600 Glostrup
STARK City - Fragtvej 7, 2450 København SV
STARK Vejle - Ibæk Strandvej 5, 7100 Vejle
STARK Aalborg - Håndværkervej 5, 9000 Aalborg

There is a limited amount available in each shop and in each size/color, we can therefore not guarantee your size or preferred color is in stock.

Curious about the collaboration?


Who is STARK and why are we working with them?

STARK is Denmark's biggest retailer and distributor of building materials.
STARK is already moving fast on their sustainability agenda and is a leading example in their field. Not only on the textile side, but also within wood and other materials.

Did you know that a lot of workwear only can be used for a limited amount of time before it needs to be thrown away?
This is due to the fact that there are certain requirements in terms of how many times e.g. the reflexes can be washed - especially if we are talking safety!? Don't worry, neither did we at first - but now we can use the colorful workwear from STARK and send the rest to be used for cool table tops in STARKs local shops.

How did we end up working together?

Well, we (both STARK and VAER) have a lot of dreams for this collaboration. But it all started with a simple conversation where STARK chose to order a small production of only 20 pairs of shoes. And who would have guessed that so many put the sneakers on their wish-list... (we did off course ;))

Now it has lead to a new production of 260 pairs and more shoes are currently on their way.

Why is the workwear discarded and how are they produced?

The workwear has been worn in the different departments and by STARK partners. Because of tear, strength and regulations, some workwear has outlived its potential and STARK has made sure to collect all of the garments in each store.
We have approximately used 10 different types of textiles for this production and around 150 pieces of clothing.

Instead of throwing them away, they were sorted and sent to VAER, who cut the textiles with employees from Hus Forbi and then had them transformed into new sneakers to prolong the life of the textiles.

What's not to love?

Are these sneakers really sustainable?

Sustainability is difficult to define - but what we can say is that the sneakers have a lower environmental footprint than your conventional sneaker. We have used the same approach and most of the same materials in this sneaker as in our normal models - where the goal is to make the sneakers as sustainable as possible throughout the entire lifecycle. However, we have been able to use a variety of different textiles in this collaboration - which is also why there are so many outcomes of the same sneaker...

This means that apart from using textile waste for the upper, use e.g. soles made from 56% recycled rubber and laces from 75% recycled cotton. And we don’t stop there, for us it is not enough to prevent textile waste from being wasted, we also want to make sure that our sneakers don’t end up as waste - so our sneakers can be recycled after you can’t use them anymore.

You can read more about the materials in our sneakers, where they are being produced and so on [here]. 

Who is Hus Forbi and why did you collaborate with them?

Hus Forbi is helping vulnerable people in the Danish society. Hus Forbi is a newspaper, that is sold by homeless or former homeless people - to be more accurate, there are 4000 people registered to be selling the newspaper in Denmark, whereas around 1000 are active sellers.

We chose to collaborate with Hus Forbi, to generate work and income for the people who are in extra need and who are ready to get a job with more commitment. We think that it is a collaboration that makes a lot of sense and we love to get involved in projects where we can really make a difference.

How many resources have this collaboration saved?

By using discarded STARK uniforms instead of new textiles, we have saved around 672 kg. Of CO2 eqv.

These numbers are based on WRAP scientific article that states the environmental footprint (in CO2 eqv.) of different textiles. Also an overview here.

Calculations: Since we use 98 g. of textiles per pair of sneakers, we have multiplied this with 200 pairs (= 19,6 kg). Then we have multiplied this with 1/2 of the Polyester CO2 eqv. and 1/2 of the cotton eqv. (since the textiles we use for these sneakers are mostly a 50/50 polyester and cotton blend). This equals 480 kg. of CO2 eqv.