February 25, 2022 by Joey Birch


Helen Kirkum has recently released a 30 pair limited, handmade, collection of sneakers in collaboration with ASICS as part of their Crafts for Minds campaign. Following on from two previous designers: Dennis Buck, an artist from Berlin and KASSL Editions, a brand from Amsterdam, ASICS have asked London based designer Helen Kirkum, known for her bespoke range of sneakers, to create her take on the Gel-1090. 

The shoes were sold online by Copenhagen women's sneaker store NAKED CPH with the proceeds being donated to Right To Play, a non-profit that protects, educates, and empowers children to rise above adversity using the power of sports and play.

Kirkum’s designs are based on recycling sneakers, using broken down uppers, to recreate an entirely new, handmade, design. With sustainability at her core, Helen Kirkum is pushing the boundaries of sneaker culture, taking away from the idea of hype and having to have the latest silhouette and instead showing that it’s a sneakers origin and story that plays a key part in its success.

“I realised that even when sneakers are kind of falling apart and battered, there's something really special about them because they hold these memories within the material” says Kirkum in an interview with Highsnobiety. 

Her studio, and subsequently the pieces she produces, has a signature design. Repurposed layers, frayed edges and a deconstructed feel are key, made popular by the late Virgil Abloh’s brand OFF-White. Releasing as a small collection in collaboration with ASICS, not one of the pairs handmade by Kirkum in her London based studio is the same. With each sneaker being made from deconstructed ASICS sneakers, each pair includes technical specifications and bespoke tissue paper. 

Combining textures, fabrics and colours, the collection is eclectic and unique. A collection that may remind you of the OFF-White ‘The 50’ project from 2020 in which they used a plain Nike Dunk Low as the canvas with varying deconstructed features on each pair, the ASICS x Helen Kirkum collaboration brings 1 of 1 pieces of art utilising a clean white Gel-1090 canvas, transcending being simply footwear. 

Following on from Helen’s previous collaborations with Reebok as well as creating a personal pair for Takashi Murakami’s ‘Breakfast Exhibiton’ at 2018’s Complexcon - Helen Kirkum’s pushing the boundaries of sneaker culture and sustainability.