Legacy Collection shoes by YY Nation. Images supplied.
Sustainable fashion made from pineapple leaves, recycled ocean plastics and algae bloom is inspiring a whole new generation of brands like start-up YY Nation who are making footwear from all of those materials. The brand is “inspired by nature and powered by curiosity, we want to discover the limits of natural materials and create sneakers that are wonder, made wearable.”
YY Nation’s Legacy Collection shoes are designed in Wellington and use waste and plant material in every component. Each pair is produced using innovative materials made from fishing net retrieved from the ocean, bamboo, sugar cane, recycled rubber and super-soft New Zealand merino wool. The aim is that the brand and wearers of the footwear are contributing to the global clean-up of our land, oceans and waterways, with every step they take.
“Using natural materials in a purposeful design, we believe we have developed the ultimate sneakers for everyday adventures,” says founder Jeremy Bank. “Using materials gathered and grown, we have created high-performance sneakers with a positive impact. The Legacy Collection marks the beginning of our quest to design out waste.”
YY Nation have launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking the additional $22,500 funding they need to start manufacturing the Legacy Collection. The shoes are shoes are odour-resistant, temperature-regulating and designed to be long-lasting and durable. They’re comfortable enough to be worn in the workplace, or on outdoor adventures and are available in four styles and ten colours.
“We use raw merino wool from Kiwi farms that are focused on producing the highest-quality merino that is ethical and traceable, with the greatest regard for animal welfare,” adds Jeremy. “And, we are currently going through the process of carbon footprint assessment. We are using renewable, natural resources, like bamboo, sugarcane and algae, that capture greenhouse gases and release O2.”
The idea to create an eco-friendly footwear company started when Jeremy was on a family beach holiday, and noticed mesmerising colours in the sand. On closer inspection, he and his daughter discovered they were pieces of coloured plastic. “It wasn’t there 20 years ago when I was last there, so where did it come from? ” says Jeremy. “This moment sparked my curiosity and eventually inspired me to form YY Nation, a collective of individuals who understand the urgency of creating sustainable alternatives. We don’t have all the answers, but at our core is the principle of stewardship and the belief that the enduring pursuit of innovation begins with asking questions.”