Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Insecta Shoes: Handcrafted Brazilian Shoes Tackling Waste in the Fashion Industry In The Cutest Way Possible

More and more, the fashion community is having to confront the crises it faces: ethics, waste, sustainability, environmental cost. As the industry that is the second most damaging to the environment (after Agriculture), it needs to take a long hard look at itself and change. We need to change how we shop, how we dispose of items and how we think about fashion. The way things are in much of the world right now simply isn't sustainable. High-end labels are re-evaluating the fashion calendar and seasons, major high-street brands are working to put sustainable programs into place and recycling schemes are being established. Sadly, in many of these cases, they are just token gestures to avoid the criticism being levelled at brands turning a blind eye/willfully allowing unethical working conditions and unsustainable attitudes and practices.

However, there are companies and brands out there that are trying to do their bit for the world without sacrificing style. Insecta Shoes, a handcrafted, vegan Brazilian shoe label are just one of these smaller businesses forging a new path.

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I spoke to one of the co-founders, Barbara Mattivy, about the origins of the brand, what they do, how they do it and why it's important.

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Moi: Can you explain what Insecta Shoes is about?

Barbara: Insecta Shoes are vegan & eco-friendly shoes, made from vintage clothing and recycled plastic bottles. Our keyword is reusability: increasing the life cycle of what is already out in the world. We hunt around for vintage clothing and, throughout a handmade process, turn everything into 100% exclusive shoes. Fabrics and prints from abandoned outfits are transformed into vegan oxfords and boots. That means our shoes have absolutely no use of materials with animal origin. Produced in Brazil for the world, every Insecta is unique and handcrafted in limited numbers.


Where did you get the idea?

I used to own an online vintage store and my business partner had a shoe brand that used scraps of leather from the shoe industry. So one day she came to visit my vintage shop and I had some items of clothing that were put aside to be fixed - they had like little holes in them - but beautiful prints. She suggested we turn everything into shoes. I had no idea this could be done! So we created a collab between the two brands and the result was amazing. It just made sense and we turned everything into a new brand, because it was more innovative and sustainable.


How are the shoes made?

They are handcrafted in Brazil. We source the vintage clothing, then we cut them up into pieces, glue with a thicker fabric and put the shoe together (upper, insoles and soles).


Why should people choose Insecta Shoes?

The planet's natural resources are ending soon and we need to stop wasting and starting rethinking our lifestyles. Insecta reduces significantly the waste going out into the world, transforming everything into beautiful shoes.


How do you feel about fast fashion and how should we combat it?

We like to fight the fast fashion problems by working on a communication where we can raise awareness and educate our audience to the problems of our environment. And that involves veganism, zero waste, sustainable practices. We believe each one of us can make a difference, and that's not just by reducing water consumption, for example, it is changing the way we think and live.


Describe the label in three words.

Vegan, eco-friendly, Brazilian.

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I really can't get over what a good idea this is and how much sense it makes! Plus, the shoes are super-cute! Thanks so much to Barbara for speaking with me, I wish the company the best of luck in the future. Hopefully, they will expand and do even bigger and better things!

(All images courtesy of Insecta Shoes)


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