On September 1st, 2008, I decided to challenge myself to one year of exclusively buying eco clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. That meant that I would have to suspend purchases of anything that is not organic, sustainable, environmentally and socially responsible, and sweatshop free. Now, one would think that this would be easy for me. For a long time now I have lived sustainably and shopped sustainably in all other areas of my life but I must confess that my love of fashion had somehow been let off the hook. Indeed, for the last couple of years I have been buying more 'green' clothing but still allowing myself the occasional big name brand item to sneak into my closet.
Although more and more big name designers are beginning to make environmentally responsible products, the accessories selections have been sparse at best, and thus finding eco shoes and bags has been especially challenging. Mind you, I think it's great that old tires are being refashioned into shoes and purses. But what is one to do when looking for something a little more eco chic?
Enter Binith Shaw and Elizabeth Rickard, husband-and-wife team and creators of the luxury accessories house Rickard Shaw (Jessica Alba is a fan), who are now branching out into the eco-fashion world with their sustainable shoe collection, PURE (Promoting the Use of Renewable Energy). Not only is their first collection made completely sustainable from water-based glues to natural dyes and rubber soles (even the inserts are made of bamboo), but the shoes are made in a factory that uses solar power and are transported by boat to reduce their carbon footprints. The shoe collection includes both his and hers lines and is debuting with stylish sandals, moccasins, and ballet style flats, perfect for any eco-minded fashionista.
The idea behind the shoes began when Rickard and Shaw decided to make changes in their own lives living abroad. Inspired by green and organic living in Tuscany, Italy, the duo became aware that options were rare in their industry for environmentally made shoes. Incorporating the Rickard Shaw line's key principles of 'elegant, sexy, and luxurious', they were convinced that they could bring a widely available, and environmentally made stylish shoe to the mainstream. "Style and eco-awareness need not be mutually exclusive", says Shaw. And with the launch of PURE shoes, I have to agree.