While we wait for our (super amazing) spring-summer 2015 collection to be produced we're all about sharing some of our favourite ethical products. Today we are talking shoes, specifically comfy flats. Although it's a polar vortex up here in Toronto, we are dreaming of slightly warmer days when we can slip our feet into something other than our winter booties.
Clockwise from top left:
1. Alice + Whittles just introduced their second line, the essential rubber boot (also available as a riding boot) and we swooned. They have thought of everything from the sourcing of raw material to the design of the boot and have a great blog post that explains it all. In short, the rubber comes from an FSC-certified rubber forest in Sri Lanka, the rubber workforce is paid a Fair Trade premium for the rubber, and the workers who handcraft the boots are paid fairly and receive a long list of other benefits as well. The fair trade premiums were also used to build a much needed bridge and will be used to finance a community centre with internet access. These boots are beautiful in their simplicity, although the thought put into the creation of them is anything but simple. Black Rubber Ankle Boot $180 USD
2. Nisolo Harper Chuka Boot's feminine twist on a classic men's shoe has us dreaming of warmer days when we can pair these with skinny jeans and a simple tee. Nisolo facilitates international market access, pays above fair trade wages, offers skills training, and provides safe working conditions. The result has been consistent employment, an average income increase of 300% per producer, improved living conditions, inaugural access to education and savings, and above all, dignity and empowerment. All of this, and you get to wear a beautiful bootie. Harper Chuka Boot Brandy $164 USD
3. Oliberte Lalina Boot is the casual boot that Lei has been looking for and it's currently on sale for $75. That's right, you can get a boot made in the world's first fair trade certified footwear factory (in Ethiopia) for only $75. Oliberte is a Canadian company with a great story. They take great care in sourcing their leather (Free-range and hormone-free. Sourced from local tanneries in Ethiopia.), rubber and machinery (both sourced from Africa). They pay their workers fair wages, consider the environment in their production and packaging and offer a lifetime warranty on their goods. Lalina Boot $75 CDN (reg $140)
4. The Root Collective Ballet Flats. As we try to stay cozy during this Polar Vortex we dream of slipping our bare feet into these shoes on a warm and dry spring day. The fabric for each pair of shoes is handwoven by Mayan women in the traditional backstrap looms of Guatemala. The shoes are crafted by hand in the slum of La Limonada in Guatemala City by a business owner named Otto. Like so many others in Central American slums, Otto was a member of a gang. Unlike many others, he was able to escape that life. Otto’s business plan is to train and hire former gang members so they are able to leave their former lives. In addition to paying their artisans fairly The Root Collective donates 10% of their profits of their sales back to non profits in these communities. Teal Ballet Flats $79 USD
5. Sseko Vintage Gold Lalibella Loafer. These shoes are gold. Enough said. Did you catch Sseko on the Shark Tank? While the sharks didn't bite we still think they were fantastic and we love what they do! These shoes are crafted from Ethiopian sheepskin sourced from local Ethiopian farmers and made at one of the oldest Ethiopian-owned shoe factories in the country. In addition to providing jobs and contributing to the economic development of the region, 10% of the profits of these shoes go towards the Sseko Scholarship Fund. Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women to continue on to university. Every woman who has graduated from Sseko is currently pursuing her college degree or has graduated from university. Lalibella Loafer $110 USD
6. Fortress of Inca Paloma Flats. The style, the colour, and the quality attracts us to Fortress of Inca. Their shoes are handmade in Peru, using the finest materials, by fairly paid artisans. Paloma Flats $215 USD