After the rollout of unconventional luxury shoes such as Balenciaga’s overhaul of Crocs and Jeremy Scott’s makeover of the classic Uggs, it seems like high fashion isn’t stopping anytime soon when it comes to turning uncool shoes into something that the fashion crowd can’t get enough of. For the new year, designer Rick Owens is putting his own edgy spin on the iconic Birkenstock shoe.
The two-strap sandal is getting a special treatment, care of Owens’ grungy take on all things fashion, adding fabrics like felt, pony hair and full-grain leather to refurbish the footwear into a creation that revives the normcore into something sleek. Birkenstock, being the originator of the anti-fashion footwear, restakes its claim as the creator of the uncool suburban dad cliché that’s making its way into high fashion now (think: Demna Gvasalia and Vetements).
In an interview with Business of Fashion, Owens mentioned his liking to the German footwear brand, saying it promotes “steady longevity and personal well-being,” and Birkenstock reciprocates the adoration from the designer. “Just a fashion designer would be less relevant,” said the company’s chief executive Oliver Reichert. “Rick Owens, however, is different. We are beyond fashion but we’re relevant to it as an iconic classic, a genuinely universal wardrobe staple.”
Speaking of the collaboration, Owens remarked, “I agree with the values Birkenstock has promoted all along — steady longevity and personal well being. And being able to combine our aesthetics with this project together in LA feels really satisfying.”
The Rick Owens x Birkenstock collaboration is available online for pre-order on March 1 and can be purchased from the sites of Rick Owens and Birkenstock beginning March 15. For those who will be in the Los Angeles area next month, the new collection will be unveiled at the pop-up shop located in front of Owens’ La Brea store, alongside styles from the brand’s main line and select Rick Owens pieces.