What to do with an Orphan Shoe? The CCA Design Challenge

Most of you know that at Livie & Luca we care deeply about sustainability and community and we try hard to put our beliefs into practice – we use non-toxic and recycled materials, we donate shoes to needy families and our local children’s hospital and we’ve built a beautiful playground.

In line with our sustainable and community-oriented projects, we came up with a challenge for a class of design students at California College of the Arts. What to do with all the lovely single shoes Livie & Luca ends up with? Yes – just like all those single socks you amass, we have single shoes!

It seems such a waste to throw away these orphaned gems so we asked for a solution from the students, led by Lynda Grose, a leader in sustainable practices in the world of fashion design.  We wanted them to propose a way to re-use or re-purpose these orphan shoes, either as a do-it-yourself project to share with customers or as a creative solution on the post-production level.  While we had their inventive minds on tap, we also asked them to come up with a new design for a shoebox that would have the least packaging waste.

We feel it is important to encourage sustainable and creative thinking in students who will soon be working in the industry; their ideas will shape the future. By giving students the opportunity to work with us on this type of project, we are showing that the industry is invested in their future and eager and interested in discovering new ways to approach sustainability.

Lynda Grose says “Connections to industry partners in the junior year of CCA’s fashion design program are invaluable. At this point in their education, students have built ideation and making skills and are able to express their particular ideas effectively. Linking with companies gives students a taste of real life design practice in fashion.  They get to test their own ideas within the style of a particular company or brand, and build a sense of where they’d like to work. Projects like this one with Livie & Luca are both highly creative and build a real project for student portfolios.”

This wonderfully creative group visited our offices for an introduction to the challenge and to sift through our bins of orphan shoes. We encouraged them to take as many as needed to assist them in the fruition of their ideas!


We asked for DIY projects that customers could possibly do at home and not just solutions on the manufacturing end. This way we can give you, our customers, ideas about how to re-use old Livie & Luca’s or a single shoe (because we know toddlers are great at losing their shoes…) By sharing these ideas with you, we’d like to engage you in the process, to start a conversation, which you can continue by voting on your favorite ideas!

So stay tuned for our next post where the students present their projects, including step-by-step instructions and a finished sample, and YOU vote for your favorite one!


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