Refuse to buy leather shoes it is possible for various reasons - for reasons of caring for both animals and the environment in general. 2.2 billion tons of substances used in tanning are thrown into the water every year, damaging the ecosystem near tanneries. The choice of models made of synthetic materials, unfortunately, does not solve the problem, since their production and even cleaning can cause no less harm.
Fortunately, brands are emerging today that fundamentally make shoes from recycled synthetic or plant materials. Thus, in Russia, Dr. Martens, Native and Veja - including 100% vegan models. Our selection includes seven more outstanding brands that do not use leather.
Text: Anna Eliseeva
Taylor + Thomas
Jessica Taylor Mead and Elizabeth Thomas James met for a shoe making course at Los Angeles College. Mead has already completed two degrees in womenswear design and has worked for Joie, Current Elliott and Equipment. James was engaged in video production, but decided to change her profession. The two future business partners united love for the environment and an understanding that fashion needs to be changed.
The women entrepreneurs want to create a "new luxury" that is sustainable and made without cruelty to animals. Taylor and Thomas point out that while the luxury segment is committed to sustainability, eco-shoes can only be found at Stella McCartney. They launched their brand in 2018. The first autumn-winter collection includes shoes, ankle boots and grandmothers; in the future, designers plan to add clothes and accessories. The models are made of non-toxic water-based polyurethane, the insoles are made of castor bean (the plant from which castor oil is obtained), and the heels are made of wood certified by the international organization FSC (which guarantees the legality of felling). In addition, the brand stands for fair pay, support for local artisans, and is PETA approved. Taylor + Thomas shoes can be found on the brand's website and in the Garmentory online store, prices start at $ 300.
Rombaut's futuristic shoes - silver sneakers, neon flip-flops and patent leather boots - seem like they can't be eco. However, the materials used in its creation are predominantly vegetable - fig tree bark, potato starch and coconut fibers. Belgian designer Mats Rombeau, whose brand is based in Paris, is committed to ditching animal feedstocks as he wants to protect the planet's biodiversity. True, it is not complete without inclusions of synthetic materials: according to Rombo, they are necessary for the durability of shoes.
He has worked on accessories for men at Lanvin and Damir Doma. Founded in 2013, Rombeau has brought enough boldness, extravagance and irony to his brand to be noticed by major retailers like Farfetch, KM20 in Moscow, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Dover Street Market in London, New York and Los Angeles. For example, the slippers from the latest collection are made as if from a lettuce leaf, and in a fictional TV store they are advertised by a man with a head of cabbage for his head.
In addition to slippers, the brand's assortment includes sneakers with the tops of cowboy boots, sports sandals with laces and boots with sewn-on shoe covers. A prime example of how sustainable and 100% vegan clothes can be trendy. The lowest price is 280 euros.
The British brand Beyond Skin appeared in 2001 - then, according to the founders, it was difficult to buy good non-leather shoes. It took two years only to find a factory that could sew models from alternative materials. At first, couples were made to order, but over time, the range and demand for products increased. The finest hour of the brand came when Natalie Portman became its regular client.The actress has appeared in Beyond Skin models at Golden Globes and Oscars, and even in the movie V for Vendetta.
The production is now entirely in Spain. The founders admit that they use not the most environmentally friendly material - polyurethane on a cotton basis - but it leaves a smaller mark than the usual PVC or natural leather. The insoles are formed from used cardboard, the heels are made of polyurethane and the outsole is made of rubber resin, 70% of which has been recycled. On the Beyond Skin website, you can find all kinds of shoes: classic shoes, high boots, sandals, ballet flats, ankle boots and sneakers. Prices range from £ 100 to £ 300.
Matt & Nat
As its motto, the Canadian brand has chosen the "live beautifully" setting, implying not unrestrained consumption, but "humanity, creativity and positivity." Matt & Nat's values include social responsibility and love for nature, which is why the brand experiments with recycled materials - nylon, cardboard, rubber and cork - and does not use raw materials of animal origin. So, shoe pads are made from recycled plastic bottles, and you can even find recycled bicycle tires in the collections. Matt & Nat has not yet succeeded in completely abandoning synthetic materials - polyurethane, which is less toxic than PVC, is used.
The brand's accessories and footwear are distinguished by their laconicism, classic cuts and pleasant colors. There are also trendy items, such as minimalist slides in pastel shades, open-heel ankle boots and sock sneakers. During the sales period, pairs are sold for around $ 20, $ 40 and $ 70. Matt & Nat can be found in multi-brand stores throughout Canada, USA, UK, Japan, Germany and Australia.
The American brand Rafa is hard not to compare with its compatriot Mansur Gavriel - the same thin lines, laconic design, pleasant colors and smooth materials - with the only exception that the first is entirely vegan. The brand was founded in 2015 by blogger and photographer Tagrid Chaaban Zorob, who had previously worked in the fashion industry for about ten years, including at American Apparel. Zorob has decided to produce quality and beautiful footwear timelessly in an ethical and sustainable way. Only twenty craftsmen are involved in the production, who manually create pairs of faux suede, velvet and tapestry fabrics - as the brand notes, the materials are 80% recycled plastic.
Rafa has charming kitten heel mules, classic high-heeled sandals, tight ankle boots and lace-up boots - all in pale pink, lavender, herbal and other natural shades. We also advise you to take a look at the stylish Instagram of the brand. Some Rafa models are available in Garmentory and Lisa Says Gah online stores, with prices ranging from $ 290 to $ 700.
Collection & Сo
For classic long lace-up boots, simple everyday ankle boots or trendy flip-flops - but 100% vegan - check out the website of the British brand Collection & Co. She experiments with materials using pineapple leaf fibers, hemp and recycled plastics, and produces models in small factories in Portugal. The brand, created in 2016, received PETA approval. In addition to footwear, the Collection & Co assortment includes fluffy panamas, laconic belts and rectangular bags reminiscent of vintage models. Prices start at £ 50.
Los Angeles-based brand Sydney Brown believes that human, animal and environmental life is of equal value - and is committed to protecting them. They advocate for fair working conditions and comfort in clothing, for the elimination of the use of animal raw materials, as well as the minimization of hazardous substances, non-renewable resources and waste in production. PETA-approved brand using cork, organic cotton, polymers derived from grains and vegetable seeds, rubber, wood and recycled plastic bottles to create shoes.
On the Sydney Brown site, you can find classic high-heeled boots, simple leatherette and velvet ankle boots, clogs, sandals, laconic white sneakers and much more. During sales, prices drop to $ 100. Sydney Brown is represented in stores throughout Japan (the stock list in this country has as many as thirty points of sale), as well as in Belgium, France, Germany, the United States and many other countries.