With the transition to all-digital broadcasts, the planet isn’t exactly hurting for obsolete TV sets. Which is why vegan footwear purveyor Olsenhaus is making a switch of its own—by cladding Its entire Fall/Winter 2010 collection of pumps, wedges, stiletto booties, and knee-highs in an innovative polyester microfiber made from trashed television screens.


You don’t have to wait till August, however, to schlep around town in the unconventional textile. The soft, brushed-suede-like material by Toray Ultrasuede makes a cameo in Olsenhaus’s Spring/Summer 2010 line as the Babylon flat.

Just because a shoe is green doesn’t mean it has to look like an Earth Shoe or a Birkenstock, Olsen says.

For designer Elizabeth Olsen, phasing out petroleum-based faux leather in favor of something more sustainable is the logical next step in vegan fashion. But the incorporation of industrial waste shouldn’t be perceptible to the naked eye, she tells us. “The product needs to have substance to it, so you have to explain yourself or people would never know it was a) vegan or b) made from recycled TV sets,” she says. “It doesn’t have to look an Earth Shoe or a Birkenstock.”

Besides experimenting with a sole made from recycled rubber mingled with sawdust, Olsen is setting her sights on creating a heel derived from ground-up recycled-plastic pellets. “I want to do something abt that big island of trash in the Pacific,” she says with a laugh.

+ Olsenhaus