Invert Footwear

Door: Elisa van Joolen

“For Invert Footwear Elisa van Joolen turns sneakers from Converse and Nike, among other brands, literally inside out. She fashions new soles out of one dollar flip-flops, while using the soles of the sneakers to create new sandals. Each pair of shoes that results from this process is unique, despite consisting entirely of mass-produced parts.

Van Joolen’s treatment of shoes to create the Invert Footwear collection enables us to look at these shoes with fresh eyes, to see them independently from their original brands and accompanying marketing campaigns. In addition, the inversion process reveals the seams that are normally hidden within the shoes. These seams were sewn by factory workers and in revealing them the role of these workers in the production process is brought to the fore.

The new incarnation of the sneakers emphasizes the handwork that is part of these shoes as well, while de-emphasizing their mass-produced elements. In this way Invert Footwear, like 11”x17” sweaters, creates a space in which new perspectives can emerge, and questions the most common understandings of the fashion industry. What makes one piece of clothing or footwear ‘hand-made’ as opposed to another? And why is one more valuable than the other?”