Helen Kirkum | LFW AW24

HELEN KIRKUM presented ASSEMBLAGES for AW24, marking a bold step forward for innovative London-based sneaker design. Recognised for their inventive approach of deconstructing and reconstructing, the brand’s latest venture embodies the very essence of HELEN KIRKUM’s production ethos—reflected by the intricate patchworking of predominantly pre-existing materials and objects sourced from Helen’s studio, her network of creatives, or via TRAID, all meticulously reimagined into consciously crafted footwear and accessories.

Teaming up with Curator, Company, Place, ASSEMBLAGES was unveiled to London Fashion Week attendees through a unique exhibition focusing on sustainable arts and culture. From reimagining materials like Bauhaus to eco-friendly farming practices and nature reclaiming abandoned spaces, this mix of concepts showed how even small changes in connected systems matter, with the sun, moon, and Earth always in focus.

Helen’s AW24 collection offers a departure from fashion’s conventional consumption cycle of take, make, waste, prompting a profound contemplation of our individual carbon footprints. It invites us to explore the boundless possibilities of repair and transformation, urging a shift towards mindful consumption.

For ASSEMBLAGES, HELEN KIRKUM’s core styles undergo a vibrant makeover with a palette inspired by nature’s organic hues and tones commonly found in discarded footwear collected by the studio. Embracing the “made slowly” ethos, the collection prioritises technical enhancements and elevated design over mass production, with an unwavering focus on fostering a connection to the earth and regeneration.

A striking feature of this collection is an intricate interweaving of lace locks forming a showstopping hood, symbolising the spirit of conscious creativity or “eco-warriors.” This armour-like creation exudes power, magnifying the inherent beauty found within seemingly ordinary mass-produced materials.

Beyond its physical manifestations, ASSEMBLAGES transcends the realm of mere footwear and garments. HELEN KIRKUM collaborates with Aino Tytti—an accomplished sound recordist, artist, and composer—to reimagine and amplify the often-overlooked sounds of urban life.

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Photography: Franco Royal
Words: Lorna Tyler