Fashion Revolutionary: Will Roberson

Will Roberson has taken action in a new Project named “The Shoe Program”. The premise of this sustainability project is to take second-hand, worn shoes and repair them in their entirety mixing old and new worlds together with the stroke of his pen.

His ingenious idea is to give birth to a new and resourceful product without any harm to the environment.

Not only is this environmentally friendly but also lends its creative beauty to the vintage aspect of fashion design and historical content.

Will uses only natural products and colors and if more people thought like him the mountains of rubbish throughout the world would be greatly decreased. His idea is akin to the famous Wasteland project by famous artist Vik Muniz and his attempts to recycle art and paintings through the discarded rubbish of the Jardim Gramacho landfill of Rio de Janeiro in 2011. It is worthwhile to note the paintings from this exhibition sold upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars per painting showing that sustainability does in face have market value in today’s world.

“The shoe program is an extension of my artistic expression”, said Will Roberson,  “Everything I see is art. In the 80’s I used to paint on clothes a lot. So the shoes I paint now have become my new canvas. These shoes are all high end brands like Prada, Furla, Loeffler Randall, Tod’s etc. They are brand new, they just have small defects like for instance the Pink Prada shoes had a black ink smudge on one of them. Normally those shoes would be tossed in the trash. I take them and turn them into one of a kind works of art as well as a fashion statement.”

The reason behind Will’s improvements are two fold. “Designer shoes are very nice to have but why spend 600 to thousands of dollars on a shoe that somebody else has? My shoe program customizes your designer shoes so nobody in the world has them. You will stand out from the crowd.”

“The message I am sending out to the world is to be yourself.  Be original, and look like no one else while making your contribution to improve this World”.

“I believe the Shoe Program creates less impact on the earth because instead of throwing away shoes with slight imperfections, I give them a new life. The result is less production. Less natural resources are used and less people are exploited at production.”

Roberson has also created an amazing, funny and energetic character named “Lucky”.

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I asked Will what is the main idea of Lucky, what does he have to bring to our World? Will emphasized, that Lucky has a mission, he brings luck and fun energy but also he is a symbol of nature and the struggles against pollution and violence around the World… he also said “I want people to look at him and smile. I want to send good energy out to the world with Lucky. I wish good luck to the entire world.”

Author: Olesia Ryzhakova, BSL student, Master in International and Sustainable Finance, 2015-16

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