The coronavirus has shaken up society to its core, driving people to rethink everything from socialising, working, travelling to shopping and working out. While the COVID-19 crisis is still peaking in some parts of the world, in others a post-corona society is gradually taking shape. A new normal needs to be defined. What it will be like? Well, that’s tricky part. Nobody knows at this point. What’s clear is that a new set of rules will alter the playing field substantially in the coming months. Social distancing, mandatory face masks and contact tracing just to name a few. Unknown territory? Yes, but so were the internet, mobile phones and social media in their early days.

We believe it’s all about adopting a designer’s mindset when it comes to dealing with this altered reality. Rather than seeing restrictions, look for opportunities to challenge the status quo and rethink traditional roles. Take things apart, reinvent them and make them relevant again within the new normal. Figuratively, as well as literally.

Reimagining sneakers as face masks

Take a pair of sneakers for instance. More than any other type of shoe, they play a substantial role in expressing people’s identity. But wearing them significantly less during this lockdown period, made us rethink their function. We pulled the sneaker apart, dissected it into its elemental parts and recreated it as a face mask. It changed the sneaker’s functional role, but the emotional one remains the same. It’s still a way to show the world who you are.

This lockdown period didn’t just trigger us to rethink the function of a sneaker, it made us work differently too. We traded in our computer and design software for scissors, needle and thread, which was quite an uncommon switch, since we are used to working digitally. But the act of creating something by hand turned out to be an amusing alternative to clicking a trackpad for once.

The sneaker masks offer some protection, but we primarily designed them to highlight humanity’s ability to adapt, not to come up with a valid alternative for a clinical face mask. It merely shows how reimagination and creativity can put a positive twist on even the hardest of times.

Mask 01 – made out of Adidas Falcon W, Nike Jordan Max AUra (GS), Nike Air Edge Essential

Mask 02 – made out of Adidas X 17.3 FG Solar Yellow, Saucony Jazz Original Vintage

Mask 03 – made out of Adidas Top Ten Hi, Nike Air Edge Essential, Saucony Jazz Original Vintage

Mask 04 – made out of Arkk Raven Nubuck S-E15 Vibram, Adidas Iniki Runner Core Black, Saucony Jazz Original Vintage, Adidas NMD R1 Red Black

Mask 05 – made out of Saucony Jazz Original Vintage, Arkk Raven Nubuck S-E15 Vibram, Adidas NMD R1 Red Black

Mask 06 – made out of Adidas Iniki Runner Core Black, Nike Air Edge Essential, Saucony Jazz Original Vintage

Mask 07 – made out of Nike Jordan Max AUra (GS), Adidas Falcon W