Fixing and beautifying aren’t always so far apart

A photograph of a sneaker affixed to a white wall; the sneaker is coated with gray duct tape, and the dangling shoelace is wrapped in brown packing tape.
A sneaker upholstered with duct tape by Jaret Vadera

I really liked Jaret Vadera’s sneakers. They’re covered with materials pulled together from Dollar Stores and reconfigured as gorgeous, trashy, glamorous, fun–in the best way! I would wear them! My favorite one has a headphone cord coming out of the tongue, and this other one has an amazing collage of Trapper Keeper vinyl. They’re pulled from 99-cent stores, spaces that are familiar to immigrant people, working-class people. There’s lots of duct tape. There’s a shift from the cheap glitz of little kids’ stationery to duct tape. There’s a slippery space between the cheap and the provisional repair in this footwear—a slip between the provisional and the beautiful. Any time we’re caught by a slip like this we’re made aware of this subtle distinction between things that are almost the same. There’s the Trapper Keeper vinyl that has some snow leopards on it, and another beautiful over-the-top gold shoe, and then you get to the other end and there’s a duct taped flip-flop. I don’t think it’s installed with an intentional hierarchy, it’s just that these subtle shifts become apparent.

—Lauren on Jaret Vadera’s all that glitters

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