Brands in this style edit
While it’s impossible to be perfect, for shoes brands I find it extremely difficult to find very, very good brands that produces small AND also have a great eye for aesthetics. That’s why I was a little easier on myself - and you - with this style edit. It's def not easy being the all perfect conscious consumer... The brands in this style edit range from brands doing take steps into sustainability to super inspiring and great. Learn more here:
Designed in Berlin and produced in Italy. The minimalistic, high quality footwear feels like luxury, yet have a fair and transparent pricing. The shoes are made from different kind of leathers. Which are always a by-product from the food industry. Footwear is made under fair working conditions in Italy.
Finally found my sustainable Crocs look-a-likes!! Shoes are made with a high quality sustainable foam containing 51% recycled materials. The patented technology allows a saving of 50% new mineral resources. And the entire solar-powered manufacturing process requires zero water consumption and creates no waste. That's a lot of goodness! Manufactured in Le Marche, Italy. Brand is based in Los Angeles.
The Spanish brand fights overproduction by following a pre-order business model. This way they can accurately anticipate demand levels prior to production. They have a strong focus on ethical labour as well. Just beware, vegan often means 'made of PU', a synthetic leather look-a-like material. Their leather is toxic free. Shoes are handcrafted in Alicante.
One of the world’s first eco-boutiques now also produced its own items, like hats and footwear. I just love them! So out of the ordinary. Their design is feminine, artsy, quirky yet sophisticated and wearable. The Beklina collection is produced ethically, mostly in the USA, Nepal, and Peru.
Etsy is a fantastic place to discover vintage, second hand and small produced homewear, furniture, clothing, accessories and footwear. Like the babouche slippers in this style edit. I would rather go to Marocco (too) and meet the artisans themselves. Etsy is a great alternative.
Designed in Melbourne, produced in south of Europe. Essen is one of the most transparent and sustainable footwear brands in this list. It's very open about their efforts. On their website you can read their focus on minimizing carbon footprint, following a pre-order model for new items added to the collection and to get a sneak peek into their factories. Also read more about their thoughts on waste, circularity, traceability and giving back.
As one of the bigger brands I am extra critical. Yet I think with their growing collection of timeless design they are taking great steps into becoming a more sustainable brand. They also guarantee fair working conditions to their garment and shoe makers.
The Swedish Flattered is classic, modern and slightly delicate. The small brand produces in South of Europe, think Italy, Portugal and Spain. They have a strong focus on fair work conditions.
Fashion forward and artsy shoes and clothes. Designed in London, produced in Spain and Portugal. The brand delivers quite a lot of style drops throughout the year. Often in limited edition runs. They work in Galicia (Spain), where they also have their own clothing factory.
The Spanish brand is a project of designer and photographer Paloma Lanna. The brand has a feminist incling, produces shoes (also most of her clothing) locally and works with local artisans. We don’t know its efforts about minimizing waste, chemicals or work ethos, but I think this a good start for a small and still relatively young brand.
As one of the bigger (footwear) brands in this style edit I must be extra critical here. The US brand creates shoes in Portugal and Spain. Which are not high risk countries known for violating workers. Yet, it would be nice to see more transparency. They work with recycled and eco-friendly materials but also use synthetics. It is exploring sustainability by teaming up with sustainable brands that match their fun and eye popping design. But that’s about it for now. Weird fact, they used to be more up front about their efforts… Let’s hope they’re regrouping and will tell us more soon. I’ll dive into it. I gave them the benefit of the doubt by including two of their pairs in this style edit.
Japenese Zen inspired sandals from designer duo Alexander (Ukrainian) and Shushan (Armenian). The minimalistic design is crafted with deadstock high quality leather, natural rubber, (mostly) recycled EVA used for cushioning while walking and waterbased glue (minimizing toxins).
Born in 1973 the brand has only committed to sustainability over the last decade. The Swedish brand works with their own Vietnam based factory and has an in house atelier where they create limited run collections. They are in the process of becoming more and more sustainable. It’s use of eco-friendly materials limits the amount of chemicals, water and wastewater used in production. But it’s not all good. Yet. Some leather sandals are chrome free, others aren’t. It's good to double check, when in doubt just ask the brand.