Photo by Coriette Schoenaert
Imagine disposing of your moldy old gym shoes, not by chucking them into a donation bin and hoping nobody sees you, but by watching them sprout into a patch of wildflowers in your backyard. OAT’s fully biodegradable sneaker collection, the first of its kind, has all the “good stuff Mother Earth has to offer,” according to the Dutch footwear company. Founded by designer Christiaan Maats in 2008, OAT’s mission is to connect people with their environment in an imaginative way. It does this through its innovative materials: soft, breathable canvas and flexible seed-embedded cork soles that literally go to pot when you bury them.
Photo by Peter Stigter
OAT’s fashion revolution hasn’t gone unnoticed. At the Amsterdam International Fashion Week’s Green Fashion Competition in January, OAT placed second after presenting its first—and aptly named—”Virgin” collection. With the theme “Saved from the Garden of Eden,” the show paid homage to the first garden, featuring a scantily clad Adam and Eve pushing wheelbarrows bearing a single sapling-filled sneaker.
The Virgin collection includes men’s and women’s versions, as well as a unisex model for the couple who shares everything.
The Virgin collection includes men’s and women’s versions, as well as a unisex model for the couple who shares everything. With a focus on clean design, OAT embraces natural hues and classic lines, with plenty of eye-popping color accents to spare.
“It makes sense to make products that are part of the planet we party on,” says Maats. “We all like the nice bits in fashion, so why not make those bits fully biodegradable? You can call it a vintage-killer, but you leave something much better behind: a tree, flowers, or even a cotton plant that provides you with your new shirt.”
“You can call it a vintage-killer, but you leave something much better behind,” says Maats.
With multiple collaborations in the works, OAT will debut its Virgin collection in Europe come spring, with a limited 900-piece run that we’re certain will plant the seeds of something much greater.