If you need something to look forward too as these lockdowns continue to extend, the launch of Louis Vuitton’s new sustainable and unisex sneakers, Charlie, in November might be that light at the end of the tunnel.

Louis Vuitton’s unisex Charlie sneaker hits the right minimalist vibe. Courtesy: Louis Vuitton

Following on from the release of their LV Trainer Upcycling shoe for men earlier this year, the Charlie Sneaker propels Louis Vuitton further into the sustainability market – a sector that brands are increasingly vying to be a part of as their clients seek more transparency over materials and production. 

The Charlie Sneaker is a nice deliverable for folk who want their luxury with a side of ethical investment. The growing questions on how and where the garments, or in this case shoes, are made and their impact have in some ways become more important than the traditional attachment of luxury we associate with a brand. Yes, we all want nice things, but we don’t want to ruin the planet in their acquisition.

Louis Vuitton is still in its early days in this regard. Back in 2019 they released their first official upcycling collection, Be Mindful, made from repurposed scarves salvaged from the precious collections. Artistic director for menswear Virgil Abloh has been a strong supporter of the upcycling system, introducing the Upcycling Signal Logo in his Spring 2021 collection which featured an inspiring sustainability initiative.

Louis Vuitton’s new unisex, sustainable Charlie Sneaker. Courtesy: Louis Vuitton

But it’s also part of a bigger picture the brand is painting with their LIFE360 (LVMH Initiatives For the Environment) plan that takes a multipurpose approach to assist in the preservation of natural resources and create positive impact.

But to the specs – the Charlie Sneaker is made from 90 per cent recycled and bio-sourced materials: the sole (which accounts for 50 per cent of the shoe’s weight) is 94 per cent recycled rubber and the upper is made from a synthetic material produced from recycled polyester and a layer of Biopolioli, a corn-based plastic.

Aesthetically, the shoe offers the smallest diversion from the current direction seen in their recent runway collections. Still adhering to Abloh’s eye for streetwear and an underlying DNA of hip hop, the Charlie is aesthetically pared back. A simple white silhouette and black monogram maximise on a ‘90s minimalist vibe. 

As mentioned, this is also the first official unisex shoe and sizes will run from a US3 to US13.

The Charlie Sneaker will be available from November 12. By this time, hopefully we’ll be out of lockdown and we can celebrate by buying a new pair of sneakers.