The innovative London-based sneaker brand is known for its cyclical processes of deconstructing and rebuilding. Reflecting the processes of the HELEN KIRKUM production, ASSEMBLAGES mirrors the patchworking of almost entirely pre-existing materials and objects. These are sourced from Helen’s studio, through Helen’s networks of creatives, or via TRAID, before being reimagined into consciously crafted footwear and accessories.

Offering an alternative way to fashion’s linear consumption mechanism of take – make – waste, ASSEMBLAGES invites you to consider the traces of your existence. Cast your imagination wide. Explore the excitement of what you can repair and transform.  

For AW24, HELEN KIRKUM core styles have been upgraded with new colours; emphasising organically occurring shades from nature and hues that are commonly found in the waste shoes that the studio collect. Utilising KIRKUM’s ‘made slowly’ focus, the collection hones in on technical improvements and elevated design attributes over large production and wastage. Being connected to the earth and focusing on regeneration is at the heart of ASSEMBLAGES.  

An intricate weave of lace locks makes up the show piece hood, representing conscious creatives or ‘eco-warriors’. The armour-like resemblance gives the piece a powerful presence and seeks to showcase the beauty hidden in mass materials.   

Working with Curator, Company, Place, to bring ASSEMBLAGES to life, the pair unite their shared speciality in sustainable arts and culture to create an experimental installation focusing on materials and production practices. The LFW installation highlights and overlays many references; from Bauhaus’s reimagining of the material world to interplanetary regenerative farming practices, to Islands of abandonment where nature has reclaimed landscapes left behind. The intermingling of ideas demonstrates the impact of small changes within interconnected networks, with three constants: the sun, the moon, and the Earth.

LIME join HELEN KIRKUM this season, their forward thinking conscious perspectives created a natural synergy for the partnership. LIME bikes add a layer of urban utopia to the ethereal environment of the presentation, where greenery winds throughout the bikes as they take their place within the landscape.

ASSEMBLAGES stretches further than the physical footwear and garments within the collection. KIRKUM has sought council from Aino Tytti – accomplished sound recordist, artist, and composer – to re-contextualise and highlight the everyday sounds that surround us yet go unheard. Both creatives search for value within the used of urban society. Tytti’s Soundscapes for ASSEMBLAGES registers sounds of marshlands and Tilbury docks within the Swanscombe Peninsula. 

Marking KIRKUM’s final stint within the NewGen incubator, she notes that the initiative has ‘provided an opportunity to share the HELEN KIRKUM story with a wider network of people’, circulating influences and ideas that are part of her praxis within design.