26/07/19 Meet the London-Based Designer Upcycling Old Nikes Into Kitten Heels

Is an upcycled Nike/heel hybrid the shoe of the summer? Word on the street is that 27-year-old Romanian-born, London-based designer Ancuta Sarca is proving sustainable design can be seriously cool by upcycling old Nike sneakers into kitten heels.

Giving old sportswear a sexy and sustainable upgrade, her unique combination of upcycling has led her designs to be the most Instagrammable shoes of the year so far. Driven by her passion to upcycle old items into something innovative, new and most importantly usable, Sarca has managed to combine the uppers of worn-in Nikes with old kitten heels to create hybrid footwear that looks a whole lot chicer than it may sound.



Image courtesy: Ancuta Sarca


Resisting fast fashion and introducing her upcycled kitten heels as a sustainable footwear alternative instead, Sarca is confidently confirming that recycled wares can be considered high fashion.

A master’s graduate with a degree in fashion, with work experience at Meadham Kirchhoff and hours clocked as an assistant designer at Ashish (where she continues to work on a freelance basis throughout the year), Sarca is now venturing out on her own, foraying into ready-to-wear and shoes that have instantly earned a following.

By fusing old and new, luxury and athleisure, masculine and feminine, Sarca is giving old shoes new life, and inflecting each pair with a dose of humour for good measure.



The designer explained that having recently read in an article that it is estimated that there is over £30 billion of clothing sitting in wardrobes across the UK that hasn’t been worn for over 12 months, she began to think about it and the fact that we all have too many clothes we don’t use anymore. As a fashion designer, this made her question herself and how she can contribute to changing this. This brought her to the realisation that the most conscious thing she could do as a designer was to start using what is already out there, not by producing more and more. Since this presents challenges in terms of production, her current project is a little step towards a more sustainable future.

So, what’s next for the young designer? The purpose underpinning all her designs is clear: “finding more sustainable solutions for a more sustainable future.”