The key items of her collection are her now-famous, somehow iconic, sportswear stilettos.
When meeting Ancuta Sarca, the first thing you notice is the warmth of her polite yet spontaneous smile framed in the wilderness of her curly black hair. The second thing is her Eastern Europe accent, capaciously contaminated by a four-year permanence in London after graduating from the Art and Design university of Cluj Napoca, Romania. The third thing which really gets your attention is her passion and commitment towards sustainability and the closeness to her Romanian origins, which were both the starting points for building the collection she has just presented at the Fashion East designer space during London Fashion Week.
The result is a hybrid shoe, a centaur of high fashion that is half sportswear and half disused kitten heels.
The key items of her collection are her now-famous, somehow iconic, sportswear stilettos. This oxymoronic combination came to her mind while disassembling tons and tons of shoes in order to actually learn how to make them while she was still in school.
The result is a hybrid shoe, a centaur of high fashion that is half sportswear and half disused kitten heels. By combining Nike football shoes of the brightest red, green and blue with black and white kitten heels, the designer has stylishly produced a piece of fashion that perfectly translates today’s thirst for anything trash and shabby, whilst delivering a luxury, high fashion product.
These up-cycled shoes are entirely handcrafted by Ancuta herself, a factor that guarantees the best quality of this original product while keeping the footprint to a minimum.
The sustainability part behind her concept stands in her venture plumbing the depths of Ebay, going from several charity shops and vintage platforms to every forgotten corner of her friends’ closets to find abandoned trainers and kitten heels, with the aim of repurposing them. These up-cycled shoes are entirely handcrafted by Ancuta herself in her North London studio, a factor that guarantees the best quality of this original product while keeping the footprint left by her newly born eponymous label to a minimum.
“We are the first generation that starts to feel the effects of climate change, it’s a red flag moment but it’s never too late to make a change” – said Ancuta addressing the sustainability issue and why young people should take advantage from the momentum sustainability is having as a trend to start an actual movement.
Ancuta Sarca brought to the fashion system a forward-thinking, sustainable product that draws inspiration from history and gives new life to shunned pieces of clothing
Another factor that influenced her unusual and winning designing choice is definitely her Romanian origin, or better, her childhood: back in Soviet times and post-communist years, sportswear had much importance among people, so much that Adidas tracksuits became an authentic uniform for Soviet kids belonging to the underground culture of the time, and later mockingly renamed “gopniki” for their inclination of doing squats in the middle of the street.
“I remember when I was really young, on the first day of school all the kids would wear Adidas tracksuits: it was a really important thing to have a sports brand on you”.
With this in mind, Ancuta Sarca brought to the fashion system a forward-thinking, sustainable product that draws inspiration from history and gives new life to shunned pieces of clothing that lasted less than a season, reminding us all that there’s no future without knowing where we come from and that the past always shapes the present, often in an unconscious way.
Words by Beatrice Buschittari
Graphics by Katie Janes