Sustainability + Sneakers: Kevin Bui
Sharing tips and advice, our guests shed light on the importance of mindful consumption and the other ways they choose to make an impact. Kevin Concepts, Oregon-based creator, and innovator has grown a cult-following from his unique ability to upcycle materials into everyday pieces. We chatted all things mindfulness and sustainability with the man who can make too many items to count out of a Nike shoe box.
Common Ace: What are some ways in which consumers can be more mindful when it comes to sustainability in sneakers and streetwear?
Kevin: Looking for pre-owned sneakers and clothing that they can add to their wardrobe. There’s various places like thrift stores and online platforms like eBay where you can find thousands of pre-owned pieces that still have value. The more pre-owned items we can keep in circulation, the less items end up in the landfill, and generally we can save some money.
Common Ace: Who would you say is doing a great job of moving the dial when it comes to sustainability in streetwear?
Kevin: I think a brand moving the dial is Nike in recent years. I really started noticing their efforts to be more sustainable with their Space Hippie collection that utilized recycled material and packaging. It was really unique for them to ship the shoes in their own box rather than double boxing like we’re used to. A person who comes to mind is the GOAT Nicole Mclaughlin. Nicole's projects really make you think about the alternative uses a material or object can have and creates these conversations using footwear and apparel.
Common Ace: Who/what would you say plays the biggest role in the lack of sustainability in sneaker culture?
Kevin: I think consumerism, where we need the newest release, plays a huge role in the lack of sustainability in sneaker culture. There is a new sneaker release essentially every day and for us to continue purchasing sneakers while we have unworn pairs brings to question if we really do need another pair. I admit that I have a couple of pairs in my collection that I still haven’t worn but I am being more selective about what additional pairs I add to my collection. I realize I don’t need the next drop. I can live without it.
Common Ace: One of the best ways to be mindful is to invest in sneakers you’ll have for a long time. What's one of the most timeless silhouettes in your mind?
Kevin: Currently, the silhouette that I feel is timeless is the Air Jordan 1 Low OG. It's a favorite of mine and I feel it can live in my collection for years to come. Generally the leather uppers should hold up over the years and if needed, a resole could add more life to the shoes later down the line.
Common Ace: Seeking alternative materials is obviously important, but a lot of consumers may not know what it is they should even be looking for. What are some great alternative materials we’re seeing used these days?
Kevin: The best alternative material is pre-owned material. Material that is already in circulation and still has life and functionality. I think by thrifting or searching sites like eBay you can find lots of great items that can add value to your wardrobe.
Common Ace: What's your most loved/most worn shoe in your rotation right now?
Kevin: The most loved sneaker in my collection right now would be the Air Jordan 1 Low OG CNY. Absolutely love what Jordan Brand did with the sneaker. The Bred color blocking with the patterned material upper creates a sneaker that I can rock most days.
Common Ace: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Kevin: I want to thank you, Common Ace and eBay for this opportunity. It means a ton to be included in these conversations with people and brands that want to elevate the idea of sustainability in sneaker culture. So thank you.