Subscribe to Clean HippieGet an email once a week when I write something new! (I love you too.) Thanks!
Clean Hippie’s Pinterest
Archives by Month
- Around the Web
- Bring it to NYC
- Cool sites
- Failure of the Day
- Going Too Far
- Green Angst
- Moments of Hilarity
- New York
- Places to go
Tag Archives: eco-friendly shoes
Last week, if you had looked closely, you would have thought I was being a huge hypocrite.
I was at my desk, eating lunch. Slung over my chair was a new, black, ladylike, vegan coat by Vaute Couture. On my feet were black, microsuede, platform booties by Crie de Coeur. And I was eating a chicken salad.
What could account for this odd sartorial/culinary dissonance? Am I a poser, buying vegan just to say I buy vegan while I contribute to the murder of poor little caged chickens with my choice of lunch?
Actually, there is a method to this madness. The chicken salad in question was from the Whole Foods prepared food bar–organic, hormone-free and humanely raised. And the outerwear and shoes in question are more than just vegan.
You see, I have no problem with eating meat as long as I know where it comes from. This is for the usual liberal guilt reasons (I happen to like my Chesapeake bay free of mounds of nitrate-rich chicken poop, thanks) but also out of concern for my own health. More than 3,000 people die each year from food poisoning, and I myself came down with a mild bout after succumbing to the siren call of Perdue chicken fingers at a Yankees game last year. Still, as long as I get my meat–pork, chicken, duck and the occasional hamburger–from a local farm, I feel OK about it. And I’m especially OK with eggs and yogurt from the Greenmarket.
So why go to the trouble and expense of buying vegan products? They’re not even going in my mouth!
Well, when it comes to beauty products, many are vegan as a sort of checkmark in a long line of conscious requirements of the modern consumer: No testing on animals–check. Organic–check. Paraben-free–check. Container made from post-consumer recycled content–check. Vegan/free of animal products–check. So I really just end up with vegan face lotion and deodorant.
But when it comes to clothing, something I’ve found to be almost universally true is that if someone takes the time to ensure their clothing and/or accessories are vegan, they’ve also taken the time to ensure their products are also sustainably and ethically made. Take, for example, these brands:
- EcoCloset shoes are vegan, plus eco-friendly, non-toxic and made in an ethical, sweatshop-free factory in China.
- Beyond Skin shoes are vegan, plus handmade in Spain.
- Olsen Haus shoes are vegan, plus fair trade and sustainably made.
- Elizabeth Detroit shoes are vegan, plus made from recycled plastic in the United States.
- Neuaura shoes are vegan, plus are made in a sustainable factory in Brazil.
- Pansy Maiden bags and accessories are vegan, plus made the U.S. of sustainable materials.
- Matt and Nat bags and accessories are vegan, plus use sustainable and upcycled materials.
- Reveal bags and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
- Vaute Couture outerwear is vegan, plus made in New York.
- Crie de Coeur shoes and accessories are vegan, plus made with sustainable materials.
See what I mean? Yes, I still have plenty of leather in my closet, especially the vegetable-tanned kind. But no, I don’t think it’s weird to pull money out of a vegan wallet to pay for Long Island duck breast. Do you?
I often discover wonderful green things that I love and love to share. Here’s what I’m obsessed with this month:
reco Skinny Jeans
I bought these babies for sale, but I would pay full price!
Not only do reco jeans fit like a designer dream, the fabric is recycled in an exclusive process that’s so innovative, universities have been studying it. The zippers, buttons and rivets are non-toxic, the packaging is made from recycled materials and the tags are printed on either recycled paper or plantable seeded paper–no leather.
Oh, and they are designed in New York. You know I love that. I would fully support your switching to exclusively wearing these jeans.
Go on, do it. Your sexy butt and the environment will thank you.
You can try them on in person at Kaight on the LES.
Farmers Market Tulips
You’ve probably scene the masses of beautiful tulips gathered at bodegas. Well, pass them by and continue on to the farmer’s market to grab a bunch from a local farm. I bought a bouquet on Monday, and as of Wednesday night they looked just as fresh and beautiful! I’m so obsessed I bought a bunch for my apartment as well as my office.
Happiness is tulips on your table.
Hot tip: Get flowers that are closed tight and put them in ice water for maximum bloom time.
I love TOMS. It isn’t a walk to the yoga studio or a weekend stroll around the flea market without them.
But now I have a pair that won’t embarrass me at work: the wedges. They’re massively comfortable, fairly affordable and–you probably already know this–TOMS donates a pair to someone in a developing country for every pair you buy.
It’s a win-win.
Hot tip: Get them a half size up from your normal size.
Fall is here. I stepped out in a short sleeved wool dress the other morning and shivered my way to work. Along with the yellow leaves on my jogging path in the morning, arrive thoughts of my fall wardrobe. Maybe it’s just because I’m living in NYC so I’m ware more conscious, but the fashion this year seems to be radically different than last year, calling for a whole new aesthetic of high heeled combat boots, droopy sweaters, 80′s style silk blouses with square pockets, and full skirts. (Plus a little bit of what you see above in the Refinery29 post.)
So where can I get some fashionable fall shoes that are kind to the planet?
When Naya asked if I had any questions about their eco-friendly line of shoes, I’m not sure they knew what they were in for. I grilled them about the nitty gritty details, and here are the answers from the Director of Design and Product Development, Kasey Gibbs:
1. You’re very specific about the materials [vegetable-tanned leathers and linings, natural or recycled content fabrics, water-based cements, footbeds containing natural cork, outsoles containing natural materials, boxes made with 80% recycled paper pulp, soy-based inks and water-based glue, reusable shoe bags and shoe forms made with recycled PET] used in your shoes, which is great. There’s seems to be only one piece of info missing: where is your leather sourced from? Oh, and do you use up scrap leather up as well?
Naya’s leather is sourced from two longstanding Brown Shoe partners in China and India. Additionally, Naya does utilize scrap leather for linings. Leather linings are part of Naya’s comfort promise, as they make the shoes feel smooth on the foot.
2. Do you have specific shipping policies for the shoes? Minimal packaging? Recycled cardboard boxes?
We ship Naya shoes in boxes made from recycled paper and the shoes are wrapped in reusable shoe bags. We share the Naya story on the box lid to cut down on the use of paper. Additionally, shoe forms made from recycled soda bottles are placed inside the shoes to help them retain their shape. This is an example of 360 recycling, in which items are continually reused to meet different purposes.
3. In what kind of facility are these shoes manufactured? Does Naya offset carbon emissions? Use wind power?
The shoes are manufactured in factories in China that pass Brown Shoe’s Production Code of Conduct, a broad set of expectations for all of its suppliers that establishes minimum requirements for wage payments, working hours, benefits, freedom of association, non-discrimination and respect, safety and health, protection of the environment, and compliance with local laws and industry standards.
Naya currently looking into ways to offset carbon emissions during the manufacturing process, but no specific practices are in use at the moment. As for wind power, it is not something we currently use, though Naya is constantly examining new opportunities to become even more eco-friendly.
4. Are these cradle-to-cradle shoes? Are there plans to put a system in place for that?
Naya is Brown Shoe’s first step into eco-friendly footwear, and while these shoes are currently not cradle-to-cradle, it is a goal toward which we are working. We look at eco-friendly footwear as a journey, and so far we believe our customers are pleased with the progress we’ve made in finding earth-friendly materials, and our ability to make them affordable for women.
5. Are these shoes made to last?
Yes. Naya shoes are made from premium quality materials that not only leave a softer footprint on the earth, but are also durable. Bamboo is one great example, as it’s a material that is used in other countries to build ladders and scaffolding due to its durability.
6. Has Naya circled back to influence the Naturalizer brand at all?
Naya is Brown Shoe Co.’s first green initiative, meeting consumers’ desire for comfortable, eco-conscious, beautiful footwear. We hope to spread the knowledge we gain from working with eco-friendly materials to other Brown Shoe brands, including Naturalizer.
7. Ok, and I’ll let you show off here: how do you think Naya compares to conventional fashion shoes for women? On the other end of the fashion spectrum, would you say Naya approaches or outdoes the classic “hippie shoe” Birkenstocks?
While there are other eco-friendly shoes to choose from, no one else is combining style and comfort with eco-friendly materials the way we are. The three elements of style, comfort and eco-friendly materials co-exist in every pair. We’ve heard from consumers that Naya is a “breath of fresh air” from the “crunchy granola” styles people have associated with eco-friendly footwear. Customers are often surprised to hear the shoes are eco-friendly when they see the styling and feel the comfort.
Well done, Kasey. I appreciate your time taken to answer all my questions!
So what is my verdict? I totally agree with the fact that Naya shoes are a breath of fresh air from the standard “crunch granola” shoes. Some of Kasey’s answer betray shortcomings: carbon emission from a factory in China, no take back program, a wall between them and their parent brand, etc. However, it’s important to remember that this is just a baby brand, not more than two years old. Even Patagonia had a long road to walk to sustainability. I’m actually very impressed by what they have accomplished so far.
I also have to give kudos to Kasey herself. According to her bio, she’s a composter, hybrid driver, and conscious shopper. Love it.