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Converse is commissioning giant murals around Australia that break down air pollutants

Written by Maeve Kerr-Crowley

Converse has been putting in the hard yards over the last couple of years to tackle waste in the fashion industry. The brand’s Renew initiative has brought us shoes made from unconventional recycled materials like old denim, plastic bottles, cotton canvas and rubber.

Now Converse is turning its attention to another big issue having a detrimental impact on the environment and our lives: air pollution.

The brand has teamed up with members of its global Converse All Stars community to put together a public art initiative set to actively counter air pollution in cities around the world.

In each of these cities, artists have been called upon to create meaningful urban murals using KNOxOUT paint, which is designed to absorb harmful pollutants and purify the air. The paint was developed by Boysen using scientific processes that imitate photosynthesis. Once applied to a surface, it uses UV light from the sun to absorb atmospheric pollutants.

These gaseous pollutants result from the use of fossil fuels, the burning of materials like wood and coal, and the evaporation of fuels and solvents used in industrial processes. They cause the pollution of air, water and soil, contribute to the greenhouse effect, and can lead to illness and death. According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated three million people die as a result of air pollution each year.

In Australia, Converse has collaborated with local artist Elliott Routledge and non-profit organisation Rainforest Rescue to create one of these sustainable City Forests murals in Woolloomooloo, Sydney. Elliott’s mural was inspired by the flora and fauna of Queensland’s Daintree rainforest and promotes the message that ‘trees are the answer’.

It’s why Converse has also committed to planting a number of trees equal to the air cleaning power of each mural. For Elliott’s work, located on traffic-heavy Cathedral Street, this adds up to 183 new trees.

A set of patches designed by Elliott is also available to purchase online, with all proceeds going to Rainforest Australia to fund its planting, restoration and preservation efforts.

Melbourne can also expect its own Converse City Forests mural to go up later this year, featuring the work of another fantastic local artist.

The intention behind the global initiative is two-fold. On one hand, the murals are working to clean up the air we breathe and combat pollution. But Converse and its collaborating artists also hope to bring communities together, giving them a beacon of hope and beauty as cities reopen and we all come back together again.

To find out more about the initiative and check out other murals already in place around the world, head here.


Original article published on Fashion Journal - 13 October 2020

Written by Maeve Kerr-Crowley



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