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Giuseppe Zanotti Upcycles His Own Jeans to Make Denim Shoes

Luxury footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti, best known for slinky stilettos and wild take on sneakers, is tapping into one of the denim industry’s biggest trends—upcycling.

Zanotti presented his Spring ’19 men’s collection in Milan last week, including two patchwork styles made from jeans in his own closet.

In an interview with Footwear News, Zanotti said he cut up pairs of his own jeans to make the sneaker and western boot. Each shoe, he said, is made up of close to 25 types of denim. The upcycled collection features 60 different washes and treatments like painting, bleaching and stone washing for a distressed effect. Zanotti did not explain how, or whether, the shoes will be produced in larger quantities.

The Spring ’19 line also offers Zanotti’s signature mid-top sneaker, the Kriss, in light wash denim.

Despite his background in creating women’s red carpet footwear, Zanotti has seized new opportunities brought on by consumers’ newfound love for luxury streetwear and sneakers. And denim has played a key role. Zanotti introduced his iconic winged stiletto and peep-toe Selina pump in denim blue this spring. For men, the designer served up bleached denim boots, sneakers, distressed denim penny loafers and smoking slippers decorated with mirror-like crystals.

Denim footwear started coming back into vogue during Spring ’16 as a popular leather and canvas alternative for sneakers, espadrilles and sandals. Luxury designers have since embraced the novelty fabric for high-end collaborations like Manolo Blahnik’s “Dancehall Cowgirl Denim” collection with Rihanna.

Christian Louboutin, Tabitha Simmons, Stuart Weitzman and Alexander Wang have also recently added denim to their mix.