When Fashion and Culture Come Together

Photos: João Saramago

Bottles of water consumed by the bookshop employees themselves gain a new life and step on a daily basis the floor of the Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World.

Environmental, social and economic sustainability are the guiding principles of the newest project of Livraria Lello, considered one of the most Beautiful Bookshops in the World. Lello launched the challenge and Luís Onofre and two Portuguese companies didn’t even hesitate: the new uniform of Lello booksellers is 100% made in Portugal, using recyclable and sustainable materials. The result is consciously created sneakers and shirts.

The bottles of water consumed by Livraria Lello employees were transformed into sneakers that make up their uniforms. The initiative is the result of an increasingly strong commitment of Lello to sustainable development.

The Livraria Lello “dreams of a fairer, more dignified, inclusive and sustainable world, therefore, seeks to ally all its activity with the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations. Hence, we have implemented a sustainability strategy, which this new uniform is part of”, explains Livraria Lello administrator Aurora Pedro Pinto.

The idea was born several months ago. The implementation of the new sustainability strategy puts an end to the purchase of bottled water for daily consumption by Livraria Lello employees. But what to do with the hundreds of bottles still in stock? The answer came up as a challenge to the Portuguese Footwear, Components, Leather Goods Manufacturers Association — APICCAPS — that promptly offered itself to find the right partners, accordingly aligned with Livraria Lello’s values in terms of sustainability. Luís Onofre designed the sneakers, the creative director of Time magazine, D.W. Pine, draw the sweats and shirts at the invitation of Lello, and the companies Bolflex and Daily Day produced the required elements.

To produce the 40 pairs of sneakers, Bolflex, one of the biggest companies in the field of soles — which a few years ago created a recycling unit capable of transforming different materials -, used 650 bottles of water from Livraria Lello to develop soles and shoe applications, that also use 100% vegetable-derived skin. Livraria Lello’s uniform is complete with the sweats and t-shirts produced by the national clothing brand Daily Day, made of long-fibber cotton — a natural, resistant and comfortable material — with knits designed and produced in Portugal.

In terms of image, the new uniform is inspired by the project Livraria Lello X Time: What Makes a Nobel?, an artistic installation developed with Time magazine, at display in the interior of the bookshop. Thus, the shoes feature black and red accents; the sweats, whose design is the responsibility of Time’s creative director, D.W. Pine, highlight the authors found on the first floor of the bookshop, entirely dedicated to the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Each sweat and t-shirt features the name and the last two numbers of the year of birth of an author chosen by the bookseller.

The production of garments and footwear followed the most demanding global sustainability rules, aiming to cause the least possible environmental impact.

This project materializes the mission undertaken by Livraria Lello to promote sustainable development in all its aspects, inspiring the daily thousands of visitors to carry on this mission.

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