Ceeze's upcycled designs.
When a person who REALLY likes sneakers starts creating, the sneakerhead culture usually wins the game. 🌍
Besides being a young prodigy, the mind behind Ceeze is seeking 24/7 of how to improve the sneaker scene. One drop at a time.
Since 2013, the brand's founder and creative director Connor Seltz has contributed to a true transformation within the sneaker and bespoke styling industry. Valuing storytelling, authenticity, and the materials definitely take his creations to the highest level of leather goods construction.
With renewal and innovation at its root, Ceeze has built a laundry list of collabs in recent months. Each being more and more mindful of its impact on the world of tomorrow, finding the means to utilize sustainable leathers and upcycling scrap sneaker uppers to keep materials from the landfill. From this combination came the Ceeze CB-01line, a bag produced with sustainable and functional leather, without labels.
In an exclusive chat, we spoke with Connor about this project, its continuity, the choices for greener materials, and how to remain authentic and original in an industry that repeats processes and product at a seasonal pace. Scroll down to read it.
Can you speak about the process of finding the most ethical materials?
When we talk about making shoes, this is a huge conversation. There's what happens in Asia and what happens in Europe, these are brands from SKECHERS to Gucci and Louis Vuitton. When we talk about best practice at an artisanal/ bespoke level, a lot of times people don't understand that process and hours you sink in. You buy a shoe at retail, you rip the upper from the sole, and then produce your end product. Over the course of a year, we're left with hundreds if not thousands of uppers, over 5 years, we have storage units of material that we still haven’t sent to the landfill.
So sitting with all those items there, we're thinking, how can we give these new life?
How can we do something progressive, fashionable but still stay on brand and message?
'Cause again, right now, the world knows us so well for shoes. As we got progressed with marking prototypes for the CB-01 bag, we started to figure out how to repurpose the scrap uppers. How much we could augment them, and how they would keep the structure even after stitched and stacked onto of one another.
When we got into this, we wanted to do more than just upcycling uppers, we pulled in sustainably farmed materials and operations that were in fact, in a totally new channel from what were doing at the time. It was definitely a longer process, but I think a lot of those elements just naturally came together by through research we'd already done inline with some of our other products and partnerships.
Why did you go for a crossbody design to make use of those scrap uppers? And why do you think it’s such a hit?
The journey and process of creating this bag was 18 months. It started with Highsnobiety and Nigel over the Berlin office before unfortunately he left HS. We started this conversation with their ecom team, but it quickly hit home with Nigel and he started giving us feedback and vibes to how/ where we could go. We took a standard MCM belt bag, big and buckley, and with Nigels vision started turning this into something more angular and crisp.
This went through a couple of iterations before coming to the rectangular shape it is now. Jumping into my head in the middle of the process process was the concept of using fast release Cobra buckles and adding additional functionality to an item that normally doesn't have that much use.
Crossbodies are a great product category, but there's this gray line. An imaginary line in my head that says "I have a satchel for work" or "I have a little Jansport crossbody for my chapstick and phone.” This is what I wanted to channel, find a middle ground that could give 30% more storage and allow someone a versatile bag that could fit more than just one role.
What got me excited, and you're gonna see this in the third iteration of the bag coming in August, is those Cobra buckles that added a different use to the bag. It's genderless, it's a crossbody, it's a little light shoulder bag, but with two quick unclasps and now you have a clutch.
So this can be used three different ways, which to me was a bar none need in our first bag.
How do you still intend to explore this project? What's next?
First bag, first time doing this, It's was really a great experience with an amazing reception. We got through about 90% of the first set of the scraps we had with the Jordan CB01s. The Blue CB02s did about the same in volume, and those where definitely a more eccentric in color, which was perfect since we got to shoot and create a moment with the one and only Jerome Lamaar.
Blue Fury is not exactly something that most would style into a wardrobe, black and yellow is a little more reserved, we dropped a Metallic 85’ all white Crossbody with NTWRK for Earthday and that also made a dent.
But we are looking and thinking of how we can continue ways to epicycle our scraps along with aligning with other brands to help solve environmental and waste issues through design.
Right around the corner is our first iteration of upcycled wallets, utilizing familiar scraps and some new colors. Then theres a second set of the CB bags slated for early August. I think I am most excited tho for what we are going for in the fall, taking scraps and working to make home goods in a way no one else in our space would ever think to do
Beyond creating to be remembered, Ceeze creates to change the way of doing it.
Extraordinary greener designs in our [metcha originals].