There was a time when “carpetbagger” was used pejoratively, but this season designers just might take it as a compliment. From varsity jackets to roomy rucksacks, the key textile components for many contemporary designers are floor pieces. Whether it’s in the form of a ratty oriental rug
or an intricate kilim
tapestry, it seems that fashion is embarking on a magic carpet ride.
The Kilim Project:
After a recent trip through the Middle East, German design collective A Kind of Guise
returned to Munich with 50 kilim rugs. The flat tapestry carpets, all hand woven and some dating back to the early 19th
century, proved far too attractive to keep on the floor, so the designers turned them into rucksacks
. Each of the limited edition bags are accented with leather bottoms, a thick rope drawstring, and a shoulder strap. A Kind of Guise is not the only brand to use the home decor accent for carryalls—Hollywood stylist-turned-bag designer Simone Camille launched a series
of leather bags
featuring woven rectangular textiles—but theirs might be the most global.
Although Belgium-born, New York-based menswear designer Tim Coppens
earned his stripes working with athletically inclined labels (Adidas, RLX), it’s a flooring-inspired coat that’s become the standout piece in his just-launched solo collection
. In a varsity jacket with a twist, the white leather sleeves are paired with the center of an old oriental rug. It’s sporty-meets-psychedelic, with rough edges and battered fabric
clearly displaying the textile’s former life under people’s feet. While it’s easy enough to tone the jacket down with one of the collection’s many neutral pieces, Coppens does offer up one carpet-on-carpet option: a printed turtleneck that, with its rich colors and kaleidoscopic pattern, could double as a floor runner.
Jovanna Kruitbosch and Martijn Lugtigheid might not be the first to use kilim carpets in footwear—back in the ‘60s, hippies combined old rugs and leather scraps into boots
—but they’re modernizing the style with Kiboots
, their Amsterdam-based footwear brand. Gone is the scrap mentality, replaced instead by an eye for design. The duo handpicked each of the vintage carpets used, ensuring that the colors and prints represent the brand’s aesthetic. Kiboots also capitalizes on the recent eco- and ethical-fashion booms, with artisanal handmade pieces and a strict no child labor policy. It seems to be catching on: A few other entrepreneurial designers
have recently hopped on the kilim boot bandwagon.