The idea of developing a leather-alternative using waste came during Michela’s first semester at CSM Material Futures Master’s Degree. She had been working to find vegan and sustainable solutions to leather for a few months when she thought about one of the major agricultural waste of her country, Italy: oranges. The experimentation started with peels and progressed to orange peel dried powder combined with organic and vegan components.
After month of experiments with different recipes and drying conditions, Michela got an acceptable prototype that could be used for further tests. The different textured surfaces were obtained changing the drying conditions.
In order to get the Jordan shoe pattern Michela disassembled a pair of Jordan 1s, retraced the pieces and adapted them to get a final prototype that is as similar to a real pair as possible.
With the first pattern pieces, Michela could start to compare her orange material to the original leather (and faux leather). Her purpose was to show that shoes can be vegan-friendly and sustainable at the same time, avoiding faux leather or plastic-based alternatives, but keeping the same texture and look of real leather.
To assemble the final prototype, Michela used a linen canvas and linen embroidery thread. She hand-stitched the shoe to maintain a sense of craftsmanship. The final colourways (different between left and right foot) are a tribute to Jordan’s classics: the Banned and the 85’ Varsity.
Michela used linen laces, and recycled the original rubber soles. She is currently developing a 3D printed sole with biodegradable threads.