VEGETABLE TANNED LEATHER

OUR REASONS

We have not still developed our footwear, so we are not holding in stock. We prefer to ask before produce.  As our design is timeless and not based on trend you could have for next warm season.

When we decided to make shoes, we had a few reservations about what material we would use, that was ethical and sustainable. We looked for a vegan, plastic free  and plant-based suitable alternative that reduces environmental impact whilst still having the ability to last but the plant based materials existing do not comply with all our  requirements .We embarked on a long way to trace leather from organic farm which we could check free range and animal welfare is a reality and goes beyond the organic certified following European rules but currently we could not check it. Besides there is no concern or investment on the part of the industry for the separation of leather from organic farm and those that are not. Finally we have to desist and had to be satisfied as first step using leather that could be chrome-free, no pigment and traced from harvest through to finishing in Europe. We reduce the impact with these simple decisions as standard in industry is no trace, chrome tanning and pigmented coating leather. Chrome tanning is a toxic process which is damaging water ecosystems and people in asian countries.

 The reason to use vegetable tanned leather is that is still regarded to be the best material available for shoe uppers in terms of durability, breathability, performance and furthermore recyclability. It is said that plastic or bioplastic based material has one third of cradle-to-gate environmental impact than leather but is was not an option for us as  it is not follow our commitment to circular design as at the ends of life it will be not easy to recycle because mixing bio and synthetic materials  and it is burnt it leaves chemicals to the atmosphere. See more about environmental footprint.  See more about environmental footprint.

TRUE BEHIND VEGAN FOOTWEAR

More than 30% of imported footwear in Europe is made with rubber, plastic PU, PVC and recycled polyester. Imported synthetic material footwear represents about 31% in Europe [1]. Conventional  shoes usually have synthetic reinforcements at the toe counter, vamp reinforcement, heel counter reinforcement even if they have natural materials at upper part .

Textile scientists are developing new types of vegan leather to boost its eco-friendliness. The innovation is using vegetable-based plastic. Vegetable-based plastic is made with a by-product of plant oils and reduces many of the chemical hazards associated with making PU( polyurethane). This process could made us  think bio based is no harmful but it is not because bio part is just only a part and can not be separated easily so is not compostable at all, it would require a complete molecular breakdown of the material that would produce toxic micro-particles to the food cycle and soil. Even most of the material sold as compostable are industrial compostable, it means  should be in a specific atmosphere that supplier is not providing.

Post-consumer shoe waste with carbon-containing materials can be used in order to generate heat and electricity by gasification and incineration. At the moment, however, such gasification units only accept raw material waste directly from tanneries and not post-consumer leather products such as shoes as the majority contain plastics and heavy metals. The European directive only requires labeling materials that makes up 80% of the shoe in only 3 of the components of the shoes: upper, lining and sole, but most shoes have synthetic materials inside as reinforced toe, counter, mid and inner soles which could be replaced for more renewable materials. 

WORK IN PROGRESS

We are still looking  forward to finding a vegan and plant-based suitable alternative that reduces environmental impact whilst still having the ability to last. For now on we have decided to put our effort keep developing other options for uppers: the recycled natural textile which is approaching further to our core values.  We investigated pineapple leaves waste material, Piñatex  but we had our doubts because of the maintainability and low tensile strength compared with leather. Fruitleather contains a polyester based textile backing and although we use we still have the problem any factory producing small quantities want to use new materials.  Mycelium  material is still in the very early stages of industry as it is not so affordable. We think industry footwear should rethink all the process and invest in durability and easily disassembled components in order to make possible to offer  circular designed shoes.

DURABLE & PLASTIC FREE

We want to be known for building our shoes with durability in mind as footwear. Comparing with other textiles or synthetic materials the leather provides exceptional durability and last for years, developing a patina and improving for years. The synthetic material will eventually crack and peel off over time. This is an important factor when deciding between an alternative material and real leather as the environmental impact of replacing a product multiple times is arguably more damaging to the environment than the purchase of one item. We have developed our Hipatia sandal that uses mainly European materials and 100% traced & biodegradable.

ORIGIN

All the cowhides are processed using vegetable tanned leather from Spanish and Italian tanneries and come from Spanish and French livestock. Our traditional vegetable tanning is a process that uses tannins from different parts of plants obtained from wood chestnut sourced from Europe and bark mimosa  from South Africa, instead of the commonly heavy metals used in chrome tanning. Furthermore, we only use undyed leather. When it reaches the end of its life cycle, this leather is easier and safer to recycle or dispose of. Our vegetable tanned process could last more than one month instead of the shorter process used in chrome tanning.

We are very aware about the origin of the leather, which is one of the huge environmental problems of footwear industry. Most of the leather used in shoes, even most of those made in Spain comes from Asian countries and are chrome tanned whose legislation is very lax in terms of waste dumping and wastewater treatment, which is producing a huge damage in  environment and health workers. As opposed to most European tanneries which have higher environmental safeguard standards and limits the pollution of water.

AGING & NATURALNESS

Our vegetable tanned Leather grows more handsome and acquires a beautiful patina aging richly over time. Our “naked” leather doesn’t have any leather treatment. Our nude color darkens with sunlight and use; nevertheless, it is a sign of high quality. The leather is not coated, sealed or re-stamped with the synthetic lamination that most of leather products use to cover natural features of the leather making recyclability impossible. It is important for us to consider recyclability at the end of their life as part of an overall strategy.