Updated: Apr 28
The concept of Vegan fashion is still relatively new in Australia and we often get customers asking us what it means. Well, can we start by dispelling the myth that despite the name, vegan shoes are not edible! Although, perhaps that could be a future collection!? Not sure they’d be particularly durable though! ; ). But of course most people associate the term ‘vegan’ with someone's dietary preferences, not with the shoes on their feet or the clothes on their back. So, in a nutshell, Vegan fashion is ensuring that no animal derived substances are in the fabrics or materials of the product, or used during the manufacturing process. This might sound simple, but it's not as straightforward as you think.
There are a surprising number of ways that animal products sneak into our everyday goods without us realising. For instance, we bet you didn't know purified ash from animal bones is used in filters to refine sugar, or that many plastics, including shopping bags, contain "slip agents," which reduce the friction in the material. What are those made of - animal fat! For us in the footwear industry, the glue used to stick the sole to the upper part of the shoe often contains casein, an animal protein derived from milk (and we’ve all heard how bad the dairy industry can be) which makes the glue particularly strong over long periods of time and resistant to water. And of course, the tried and tested methods are usually the cheapest, so no wonder the majority of brands use it. There really are animal products in everything from your LCD computer/tv screens (cholesterol) to batteries (gelatin).
So you see the problem, making sure your favourite new shoes have been made free of animal products and cruelty is harder than you think. However, with a bit of research and planning its very achievable to use good quality and animal free materials and substances, which we’re proud to have done at The Bondi Shoe Club. We might be a young upstart of a brand but we knew we wanted to enter this world with a clear set of ethics and morals and didn’t mind spending a few more of our hard earned buckaroos to do the right thing from the beginning. We were pleased to have that hard work pay off recently when our Tropical Collection was certified by Vegan Australia.
This area of fashion is evolving fast and it was amazing to see there was even a Vegan Fashion Week held for the first time in the US earlier in the year. Very progressive of you, Los Angeles. Kudos! Different materials are also being developed as alternatives to animal ones, such as Pinatex (a natural alternative to leather made from pineapple leaves). Alternative fabrics is an area we’re interested in that we’ll certainly explore in another post. We try to keep our finger firmly on the pulse and are always on the lookout for new materials to experiment with, we’ll keep you posted as we do.
Thanks for stopping by and having a read. Live life in colour!
The Bondi Shoe Club
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