If the whole point of late-stage capitalism is to go as viral as possible before launching a product, then consider designer Demna Gvasalia and Balenciaga peak success. At the beginning of May, social media lost its collective mind when the outfit dropped an absurd look for a new line of pre-distressed shoes called the “Paris Sneakers” — which come “fully destroyed” and abused to hell and back.
It didn’t take long for another company to jump on the bandwagon though and ride out some of the viral energy the high end fashion brand dug up from the trenches with its $1,850 price tag. And it’s not exactly clear any other corporation would have been able to do it.
Enter The Salvation Army, which recently launched its own line of distressed footwear called “Truly Destroyed.” It features eight selected pairs of footwear that are, quite literally, destroyed by “people living on the streets.”
"When a limited edition series of destroyed-looking sneakers popped up, we decided to create our own limited edition," says the site. "The only difference is that our shoes are truly destroyed, because they’ve been worn for months (in some cases years) by people living on the streets."
The descriptions of each pair run the gamut on the hardships faced by these people in need. Some are said to have been “Worn out to exhaustion,” others are “Bloodstained.” There's even a “Painful fit.”
"The fashion world is all about how clothes and shoes look," says Thamar Keuning, marketing and communications officer at Salvation Army ReShare. He goes on to tell Highsnobiety, "The creativity and variety that comes with it can be wonderful, as is high fashion, or Balenciaga for that matter.
"However, it is also sometimes at odds with what clothing means to most of the people we deal with, and that is purely functional. The destroyed shoes of a homeless person opposite the high-fashion products of this fashion industry literally and symbolically reflect the inequality in the world."
If you're down to throw $1,800 on a pair of kicks there's really no judgment here which company you go with. Or maybe just give it a few years when this inflation forces us all to rock footwear that's soulless and completely demolished beyond their years.
[cover photo via Salvation Army / Carli Hermés]