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By Chere Di Boscio
We all know that given the methane emissions and carbon footprint from cattle ranching, leather is far from eco-friendly, and of course many object to the killing of animals for food and clothing. Yet for those who do insist on eating meat, you should be aware that not all leathers are equal.
Some are derived from organic cattle ranches and tanned and dyed with non-toxic finishing products, thus lessening their environmental impact, whilst others are made from upcycled or recycled leather. Here’s our pick of some shoe and bag brands that are doing their bit to reduce their impact on the planet–and are making great eco leather accessories in the process.
When it comes to style, the French always seem to do it better, as Coclico proves without a doubt. The New York based label with a French-born designer makes cruelty-free footwear that would make any Parisian proud, and is dedicated to environmental protection to boot (pardon the pun!)
For example, Coclico partners with Native Energy to track its annual in-house carbon usage and offsets this amount by investing in international renewable energy projects. As a result of their eco-efforts, Coclico was recognised for its dedication to sustainable fashion as the winner of the 2013 SOURCE AWARD in the footwear category–just another great reason to stock a little something from this fashionista favourite.
2. Rebecca Jane
Prior to launching her own business, Eaton worked with Givenchy, Stuart Vevers, Luella and Paul Seville, which taught her more about business and design, which she now combines with sustainability. The juxtaposition of the old and new makes for designs that can be replicated for production but that also hold slight variations, producing a truly different bag for each customer.
Oliberte is a sustainable footwear brand supporting workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, they became the first and only Fair Trade Certified footwear company in the world. Usually aimed at the male market, to celebrate its 5th anniversary this fall, Oliberte will launch its premier women’s collection, which includes shoes that are handcrafted from meat production byproducts and all-natural rubber. Made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the brand is especially proud to be offering equal opportunities and stable jobs for Ethiopians.
From the first second she laid eyes on them, Abury founder Andrea Kolb knew Berber bags were special. Their intricate detailing, natural tanning and dyeing and traditional structure were, however, dying out. So Kolb decided to do something about it, and she invested in supporting Berber village communities by bringing not only work opportunities and helping to preserve their traditions, but also by giving back the same number of production hours in education hours for every product sold. This way, she hopes to give consumers the possibility of leaving a positive impact every time they buy Abury products.
This unique ethical fashion brand specialises in Palestinian Tatreez (embroidery), an ancient artisan technique traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. The label trains and employs refugee and low-income female embroiderers in the West Bank to make not only beautifully handmade shoes, but also bags, accessories and home decor products. Darzah is a nonprofit, FairTrade certified business, and we love their chic, textile-embellished flats, which are great for fall…or any season!