Berlin-based fashion label GmbH just released a distinctive new vegan leather shoe in partnership with multinational sportswear brand Asics.
The GmbH x ASICS GEL-CHAPPAL is the latest collaboration between the two companies, following the popular GEL-Nandi and GEL-Quantum. The GEL-CHAPPAL combines Asics’ signature GEL sole — designed to both reduce impact and increase stability in running shoes — with a wrapped vegan leather upper, for a smart-casual hybrid shoe inspired by traditional Pakistani footwear, Peshawari chappal.
While hybrid work shoes with comfortable sole units are increasingly popular — as is athleisure clothing in general — the GEL-CHAPPAL has a particularly unique appearance. According to the GmbH website, the distinctive criss-cross uppers are in keeping with the company’s rigorous environmental policy. They are made entirely from rubber.
Founded by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Alexander Huseby in 2016, GmbH has received acclaim for its pushing of gender boundaries and emphasis on recycled and sustainable components. According to the brand’s environmental policy, around 90 percent of all GmbH’s materials are organic, recycled, upcycled deadstock, and/or biodegradable.
GmbH does not use leather, down, fur, feathers, or exotic animal skins in any of its products. Company workers exclusively consume vegetarian and vegan food provided by a local biodynamic farm. The brand aims to create a fully circular production system by the year 2023.
Fashion and sportswear brands are increasingly acknowledging the need for sustainability in their production methods. Even large, mainstream companies such as H&M, Adidas, and Nike are exploring recycled materials and recyclable items. While New Look, Topshop, and Marks & Spencer have now each launched their own vegan-friendly footwear.
In April, Infinium Global Research published a report stating that the vegan leather industry could be worth $89.6 billion by the year 2025. A combination of growing environmental awareness and rising interest in vegan products in general drives the increasing demand.
This year has seen significant innovation, and popular alternatives to traditional leather include processed fruit and vegetable waste, wine byproducts, cacti, mushrooms, corn, and even flower petals. Each of these can be used to produce plant-based leather.
The GmbH x ASICS GEL-CHAPPAL shoes are available in both black and burgundy at an RRP of €215 (approximately $260). Initially, they were exclusively available from the GmbH website, but the new shoes are now available from selected retailers worldwide.