Phones4shoe

Faced with the problem that there are 70 million used mobile phones in the UK, with 30 million new ones being bought annually, O2’s answer is to get designer Sean Miles to turn phones into shoes.

The brogue option, available on an 18 month contract
The brogue option, available on an 18 month contract

Or rather, to turn shoes into phones. O2 Recycle, the arm set up by the telecoms group to deal with sustainability issues, approached Miles, who presumably had noticed similar issues with redundant footwear.

The Wlakie Talkies can be worn
The Walkie Talkies can be worn

Taking a Christian Louboutin heel, a classic men’s brogue, a Nike Air trainer and a Hunter welly, Miles combined them with Nokia and LG phones to repurpose them as Walkie Talkies. Why had nobody thought of this before? Hmmm.

'Hello?' 'Yeah... terrible signal, sorry.'
‘Hello?’ ‘Yeah… terrible signal, sorry.’

‘I wondered how I could make phones that people might be embarrassed to be seen with into something that would give them a new lease of life – which is what upcycling is all about,’ says Miles.

I’m fairly sure I’d feel less embarrassed to be seen with a Nokia 6280, then brandishing a wellington on public transport.

'Sandra it's over, there's someone else...'
‘Sandra it’s over, there’s someone else…’

We can’t be too cynical though, the sentiment is there, and it has produced these fantastic photographs, art directed to evoke a kind of stubborn realism only belied by the actor’s impassive expressions. 

The Christian Louboutin option is a shoe-in
The Christian Louboutin option is a shoe-in

Miles says, ‘I hoped that, by turning the phones into Walkie Talkies, I would raise a smile and perhaps a laugh and create things that people wanted once again.’

This retrofitted Hunter Welly doesn't look at all ridiculous
This retrofitted Hunter Welly doesn’t look at all ridiculous

He adds, ‘I hope that they can get more people talking about the need to recycle old gadgets rather than binning them.’

Latest articles

What we loved at Milan Design Week 2018

From a fully functional American diner through to Google’s unnerving house showing how technology has taken over our lives, we round up our favourites from this year’s Italian design festival.