Some artists have skeletons in their closet. Designer Ancuta Sarca had a pile of old shoes.
The Romanian artist was packing away her clothes while moving house when she found a mound of discarded shoes in the back of her wardrobes.
“I realised I had so many shoes — especially trainers — that I was probably never going to wear again,” she says. “At the same time, I felt bad for throwing them away. I decided to find a solution to re-use them and also make something that I would like to wear.”
Sarca’s sneaker-heel hybrid was born: turning the old sports shoes into something both sustainable and sexy. “What was so appealing to me was the idea of feminising sneakers,” she says. “It’s sportswear but not really.”
With their eye-catching aesthetic, the shoes are already garnering major Instagram attention: but this isn’t Sarca’s first foray into sustainable fashion. Her previous collections have included reworked pieces created from old lilos.
“I think it’s so important to be aware of the impact we have on the environment by how much we consume,” she says. “I am trying to buy less in general and also re-use more of the old stuff I have, by transforming and deconstructing pieces instead of discarding them.”
Now based in London, Sarca is selling her pieces via social media — but hopes to unveil an easier buying process soon. “The Romanian fashion scene started to get more attention than a few years back,” she says. “[But] moving to the UK was a big change from all points of view — it’s a very different cultural and economic landscape. I don’t know if it has had a direct influence on my work, but it definitely pushed me to work harder and stay true to my own values and who I am.”