Three ideas to upgrade your old Converse, according to a Melbourne stylist


Easy ways to revive your footwear.

We all have neglected items squirrelled away in our wardrobes that have lost some of their magic after countless wears, but being a bit sick of something shouldn’t spell the end. 

There’s always room for improvement and as we all try to embrace a ‘less is more’ attitude when it comes to our consumer habits, we’re looking at ways to prolong the life of items we already own. 

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A little DIY upcycling can totally transform a piece – think Marge Simpson with her ever-evolving pink Chanel suit. Not to mention, upgrading your pieces makes them one-of-a-kind and that bit more special. 

Tweaking things that are already sitting in your closet gets you more bang for your buck by extending their lifespan. Plus, it prevents you from unnecessarily buying something brand new that you probably don’t need.

We’re not the only ones who think so, either. Converse’s recently opened Renew Labs Fitzroy is dedicated to customising and repairing well-worn shoes. So, in that spirit, we caught up with Melbourne-based stylist Lauren Trantino to get a few tips on how to customise an old pair of Converse.

A dye job

An easy way to transform your shoes is to give them a fresh colour. This works best if you’re working with shoes that are already a light hue, but there are ways of lightening your darker kicks, too.

Admittedly, dye can be a little tricky in terms of knowing what to use. Natural dyes like turmeric, indigo and onion skins are planet-friendly and easy to source, just make sure you read-up on natural dyes before you go putting them on your shoes as they may not be colourfast. You don’t want to end up with dye bleeding onto your skin and socks if you get caught in the rain after a DIY dye job.

“Playing around with dyes at home can be lots of fun, and allow you to get really creative and experimental. It can get messy though!” notes Lauren. “It’s worth practising on old linens or bed sheets you might have around at home first, just to get your head across the different techniques and dyes.” 

If you’re not quite sure what you’re doing or what dye to go for, you can take them to Renew Labs Fitzroy and have one of the experts do it for you instead.


Our nans were onto something; embroidery is severely underrated. Even if you’re no expert with the needle and thread, there’s something charming about imperfect embroidery. “Embroidery feels like a bit of a lost art these days, but if you learn the basics, you can add some really nice touches across your wardrobe,” says Lauren.

Not to mention, you can stitch whatever you want onto your shoes. Monogram your initials for an extra personal touch, or add flowers, flames, hearts, swirls. The options are endless. 

”You can easily download embroidery templates online,” adds Lauren. “Or do as I did and take your Chucks into Renew Labs Fitzroy on Smith Street, Melbourne. There’s an automatic embroidery machine on site, which keeps the lines a little neater for a more polished look.”


There are myriad ways to spruce up your shoes that range from subtle touch-ups to adding fun embellishments. For Chucks that are a bit worn around the edges and in need of some TLC, you’d be amazed by the instant impact of simply updating the eyelets (the little metal circles the shoelaces run through).

If it’s pizazz you seek, you can also look to accessorising your sneakers with iron-on patches or new laces, too. “An even easier DIY job for a nice pop of colour on your Chucks is to change the laces! You can play around with interesting textures and colours… I love the terry towelling laces I picked at the Renew Labs Fitzroy,” says Lauren.

You can pick these bits and bobs up at Spotlight or Lincraft, or just take your shoes down to Renew Labs Fitzroy and the team will help you out. They’ve got a bunch of cute eyelets, patches and laces to choose from and they’ll do all the fiddly work for you.

Find out more about Converse Renew Labs Fitzroy here.

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