Meeting Peterson+Stoop allows us to reflect upon a very important aspect regarding waste in the fashion industry. In Italy the shoe business is predicted to grow over 3.4% between 2020 and 2025. According to a report of the Italian Institute of Research Eurispes, 37% of Italians purchases a new pair of shoes every 3 months, noteworthy numbers that make us understand how important is talking about the production and consumption of shoes in a more sustainable way.
Besides the actual shoes ending up in landfills at the end of the life cycle, during the tanning process also the shoe factories produce significant waste:
- dust, scraps and leather clippings polymeric materials and fabrics;
- adhesives and solvents;
- packaging (canned goods) partly dangerous as it is used to contain chemical substances.
Peterson+Stoop’s story, Dutch brand founded by Jarah Stoop and Jelske Peterson, is based exactly on the concept of giving a new life to thrown away shoes. Not only saving them from the landfill but also increasing their value by giving them a new start in the high shoes fashion industry, thanks to the implementation of TPU soles and thanks to a new vegan leather and cork design.
First of all, starting from the beginning of your story, when and where did you two meet?
“We met in art school in Amsterdam, Jarah was in her 3rd years and sat on the newcomers committee, she among others is responsible for letting me into the school”.
How did your project start? What was the initial vision and reason for doing so?
“After art school and after Jarah just graduating from Royal College of Art in London we decided to share a studio, both doing our own thing. We obviously spoke a lot about our work and goals and after doing one assignment together in which we designed and made shoes for Heineken, we decided to join forces as our collaboration felt so natural”.
Where did you take inspiration from?
“We take inspiration from Dutch artisanal shoe making techniques. I worked at a high-end cobbler for 7 years, and I have been highly inspired by that work and I decided to take it with me in the new project with Jarah. I asked myself questions like: Where does a shoe tend to brake? How can we design a shoe that makes it repairable?”.
What are the materials and fabrics you use for the creation of the shoe?
“We only use vegan leather. This is leather that is tanned without the use of chemicals. With the support of the Worth project ((contest giving annual funding the best innovative designs in Europe) and the European Union, we were able to create our own outsoles together with a factory in Spain. They make our leather soles, and soles made from TPU, a fully recyclable material“.
Where do you take your stock to meet your clients’ demand?
“Our second-hand shoes instead mainly come from a sorting centre in Poland. But we also buy from sites like Vinted“.
Where have you gained the most attention and market?
“Since we started in 2018, Japan is definitely the market where we are having the best success for our shoes. About 80% of our wholesale goes to Tokyo”.
What sustainability principles do you stand by the most?
“Repair. Jarah and I strongly believe that if something is made in such a way that it is repairable, then it can last you a lifetime, and that makes it sustainable”.
What is the easiest and the hardest part of your job?
“Surely one of the easiest parts of our job, as it is our passion and ideology, is to keep working with resilience. The hardest thing instead, due to the actual world situation and artisanal challenges at large, is to keep working and to keep having work!”.
What is next for the company?
“Grow, we hope. The main issue is that we need to find more sources for our second-hand sneakers so we can grow more rapidly and spread out all over the world in the long run”.