For the second installment of our Unstitched Utitilities feature, we had the pleasure of talking with co-founder Jack Steinweis for the scoop on how it all began, their use of vegan materials, and plans for thefuture. We’ve also put together some more photos of their Next Day Hi QT in Black. Enjoy! [You can find our previous post here]
VK: What is the origin of Unstitched Utilities? What inspired you to start a sneaker label?
Jack: There are three original founders: myself, Kevin Crowley, and Mark Kane. We worked with corporate footwear brands, representing them and promoting them on the marketplace. We were good friends from working in the industry together for so long, and we would occasionally throw around the idea of breaking ties with the corporate world and creating our own shoe line. We wanted to make a new shoe that was unique and fashionable, but different from the rest. One founder, Kevin Crowley, used to work with creating hazmat suits out of Tyvek when he first starting out in the manufacturing industry. This gave us the idea of making a shoe brand based from Tyvek material. We liked the material and thought it was unique, so that’s what really pushed us to create Unstitched.
VK: we’ve never seen any shoe company use this material before and we wonder why. It seems like a very durable fabric that could potentially have many applications. Can you talk a little bit about Tyvek and its properties?
Jack: Since Kevin worked with Tyvek materials in the past, we had a good grasp on its benefits. Tyvek is a really unique material: it’s lightweight and breathable, yet very water resistant and strong. The material is difficult to tear so it guarantees a longer life for your sneakers. Water vapor is able to pass through the shoe, allowing your feet to breathe, but the outside is extremely water resistant.
VK: Your shoes are vegan. Was that a deliberate decision?
Jack: Originally we were focusing on creating a line using the Tyvek material, which just happened to be vegan-friendly. But as we started designing shoes with canvas, we realized how important it was that we maintained this eco-friendly and vegan-friendly brand. We want Unstitched to keep its unique and ethical reputation, so we’re dedicated to creating shoes fit for vegans. Even our glue is water based, so everything we make is completely free of animal products.
VK: We noticed you added a new line of women’s slip ons. It’s a bit of a more casual look with comfort as a priority, but the asymmetrical stitching at the top of the tongue really stands out.
Jack: We love canvas material because of its lightweight and durable qualities, but we didn’t want ours to resemble the many other canvas shoes on the market today. The new Unstitched women’s slip ons aren’t like other canvas shoes. The stitching is unique, they’re durable, the colors are one of a kind, and they’re unbelievably comfortable. The Gusto style is a cleaner look, while the Maui style allows some adjusting of size with the velcro tops. Both come in an array of poppy, summer colors for women.
VK: What can we expect for the future from you guys?
Jack: We are going to keep designing and creating new shoes for our vegan customers. There will be new styles, new colors, and new patterns.
VK: What else do you want people to know about you and your brand?
Jack: A lot of our friends have gotten into the habit of calling Mark, Kevin, and I “the 3 recovering executives.” We took a break from our fast-paced corporate lives to create this shoe brand that’s more sustainable and ethical than other shoes on the market. We’ve been in the shoe business a long time, but it was time to get Unstitched and design our own line.