Worn sneakers given a “Gardenia” makeover

Gardenia-inspired sneakers in Malaysia
Malaysian shoe artist paints sneakers with Gardenia-inspired design
Image adapted from:
@uglykimshop & Ugly TV

Toilet rolls have become a hot commodity around the world while we’re battling the COVID-19 pandemic. But this wasn’t the case for Malaysians when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented. Instead of toilet rolls, the item selling like hotcakes here was Gardenia bread. So much so that a lorry loaded with Gardenia bread in Kuala Lumpur went missing during the MCO (plot twist: It was later found with the bread intact). 

And now, a Malaysian shoe artist has gone the extra mile by revamping old Nike sneakers into the classic red-blue-and-white Gardenia design

Shoe artist paints familiar Gardenia design on sneakers

The uniquely painted shoes were created by Ugly Kim, a custom-wear shop from Johor, and shared on their Instagram page on 13th May 2020. A YouTube video they posted online showed the transformation of the shoes – great for people who are interested in the behind-the-scenes process.

The video begins with the shoe artist having a stare-off with the familiar bread loaf and a bottle of Gardenia’s “Aunty Rose’s Kaya”. 

Gardenia bread
A familiar scene for many Malaysians during MCO
Image adapted from: UglyKim

It then brings viewers through the design process after the artist gets inspiration from the bread’s packaging. The shoe artist spray-paints a worn-out right sneaker to achieve Gardenia’s iconic colours. With a thin brush, details are added, including the cheery little man in white.

Gardenia-inspired sneaker design process
Image adapted from:

The final product sees the beloved Gardenia packaging in shoe form, with the brand name drawn on the heel of the shoe while “Classic” is written out on the side of its sole. 

To make the shoe look even more authentic, the artist topped it off with a Hypebeast-style label tag – the essential expiration date tag that comes with every loaf of Gardenia bread – attached to the shoe’s red lace. 

Gardenia-inspired sneakers
Image credit:

Netizens impressed & humoured by Gardenia-inspired sneakers

The Gardenia sneaker was also shared on Twitter by user @MeanMijer, where it has garnered over 5,000 retweets and 10,000 likes at the time of writing. It didn’t take long for Malaysians to jump on the thread after seeing their favourite bread in a shoe form, with many calling it cool and an art piece.

Twitter comments 1
Impressed Malaysians’ responses to the Gardenia shoe.
Image adapted from: @MeanMijer

In fact, Twitter user @afqharffins was so impressed by the design that she even joked, “Hahaha, so nice, can I dip it into Milo?”, presumably because of how realistic it looked. 

Twitter comment 2
Image adapted from:

Others were just tickled by the sight and joked about the expiration date tag, wondering if the shoe would “expire” as it had a best-before date tag. Netizen @fahimahazhar_ even kids that the shoe was “Such a waste” because “You can only wear them for 2 days before they expire”. 

Twitter comment 3
Image adapted from:

It might seem as if we’ve seen it all, with this Gardenia-inspired sneakers and even toilet roll cakes. But Twitter user @Bserj1 suggested adding another trend to the list for Hari Raya: round butter cookies topped with eyes and a mask. 

Twitter comment 4
“This year’s Raya cookies are done”.
Image adapted from: @Bserj1

Sneakers given a new life with Gardenia-inspired design

MCO has brought out many creative Malaysians who have been upcycling things and even redecorating their old houses. These shoes are yet another thing to add to the list, as many are trying our best to help keep COVID-19 off our streets and staying productive while we’re cooped up indoors. 

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