A Conversation with Jarah Stoop of Peterson Stoop
Jarah Stoop is one half of the duo behind Peterson Stoop, a sneaker repair studio in Amsterdam, Netherlands launched to reduce the amount of waste created in the sneaker industry and to bring new design flavour to footwear. P+S applies traditional leather shoe repair techniques to classic sneaker models and has built a global following. They have collaborated with brands like Timberland and Staple Design and sell limited runs of their footwear in stores such as Wagamama (Tokyo) and Selfridges (UK). @petersonstoop You’ve just released the designs for your AW 21 collection (congratulations). What were some goals you had going into this season for Peterson+Stoop?
Thank you! We’re really excited about this collection. As always, and continuing with this collection, we really try to reduce the use of virgin materials as much as possible. Every time we cut into a new material we think “is this worth it and is it needed?” We tried to cut new patterns that would create as little waste as possible. We tried experimenting with new dynamic designs on the outsole which I think turned out really well. We wanted to add new silhouettes that were more suitable for people’s lifestyles being at home so much more. We did this with our patchwork mule slipper made from old shoe materials. We’re also excited to work with new retailers for this collection. It helps us try new things and reach new audiences. Every aspect of Peterson+Stoop, from the natural materials and water-based glues to the recycled men’s shirt dust bags is designed to reduce the environmental footprint (no pun intended) of footwear on the planet. Why has this been so important for the two of you as you continue to develop the brand?
When we graduated in 2008 we were thinking about whether or not we should go work for a brand or start our own. I am a spiritual person and need a true purpose in life. I am very analytical and if I was going to start something new it would need to make sense. Joining a brand and “designing for landfills” didn’t make sense to us and wouldn’t excite me to get out of bed in the morning.
We started looking at common products and noticed that most things were not made for repair. The Air Max 97, a shoe I love, can’t be repaired. Once that air bubble pops, it’s over. We realized this was our purpose; bring repair to the world. Brands should promote repair, but they don’t, so we wanted to make repair accessible. It’s better for the planet, looks cool and can become more beautiful over time and overall, it’s just the right thing to do.
Peterson+Stoop has done some really impressive collaborative projects including the “Wavy Pigeon” with Jeff Staple and Construct10061 with Timberland. Who are some other designers or brands that you would love to collaborate with in the future and what might you work on together?
This is a tough question. If we could work with a brand on a long term repair initiative that would be great. Nothing hype but real change with a brand would be something we might do. If you could see anyone wearing your shoes, who would it be?
Definitely our king; Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. He’s worn sneakers and I think that would be awesome [laughs].
With each pair, Peterson+Stoop is changing the way that we think about the lifespan of the things we own. Besides sneakers, what are other ideas/items people can upcycle in their daily lives?
This question is tricky because everyone’s life is different. I think “Design for Repair '' should be a course in school so that people become accustomed to thinking about repair and upcycling. If we train the mind to get creative with repair, we will reduce a lot of waste with everything.
I often think about this with food. There’s a lot of waste with food. I try to think about the scraps and try to find ways to reuse them. All clothing as well can be repaired or designed to have new purposes and it can be a lot of fun. You guys have crossed paths, got to know each other & shared a studio space before becoming partners of Peterson+Stoop. Now as full-time partners, what are 5 tips you’d give to new business partners looking to run a business?
Hmm. Don’t do it [laughs]. I’m joking but being in a partnership is very hard and truthfully it’s easier to get a job. That being said, if you’re stubborn and motivated you can make it work. A partnership should have people with diversified skill sets. Make sure there is someone who knows design, someone who knows the business side, etc. Be open minded and willing to learn about other people and their opinions. Communication is very important. Talk through everything, when you agree and when you disagree. Remove your egos from the company and the partnership. You have to always think about what is best for the company and not what is best for you. Don’t be afraid to take risks!