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Dutch Salvation Army responds to Balenciaga with collection of 'Truly Destroyed' shoes

Fashion house Balenciaga recently made headlines after presenting a limited collection of distressed Paris Sneaker shoes. A hundred pairs of extremely tattered sneakers are on offer for USD 1,850/EUR 1,450 each.

In response, the Dutch Salvation Army — Leger des Heils — launched its own line of Truly Destroyed footwear. Beautifully shot by fashion photographer Carli Hermès, these shoes aren't just superficially shabby. Their battered appearance is the result of being worn for months or even years by unhoused people.

Available, for example, are Maria's Truly Destroyed Sneakers: '18-month-straight worn effect, rain, wind and cold beaten, mud-stained, illegible logo, does not fit to size.' And Sam's Truly Destroyed Winter Boots: 'distressed shelter-hopping look, burnt fabric, moldy interior, allows cold in.'

Each pair can be purchased for EUR 1,450 and all proceeds will go directly to the Leger des Heils. The initiative was developed with creative agency Cloudfactory.

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Balenciaga might be subverting notions of what a luxury brand can be. Or maybe it's just being sleazy and fetishizing poverty. Either way, it garnered a massive amount of attention. Attention that can be cleverly co-opted by an organization whose intentions are anything but ambiguous.