A Minimal Carbon Pump Footprint

Text by Nicole de Ayora

It used to be that if you didn’t want shoes made with leather, you would have to walk the aisles of discount department stores for a knock-off vinyl style whose poor construction and cheap materials promised nothing but pain with little gain. Not to fear, fashionistas; your guilt-free solution is finally here. Now, with the shrinking of carbon footprints and the growth of eco-friendly specialty designers and websites, the globally conscious consumer can find high-fashion vegan products that favor clean living.

Up-and-coming vegan shoe designer Elizabeth Olsen of olsenHaus informs her customers that if it’s not your furry friends you’re afraid for, let it be the incredible destruction by pollution of land, sea and air by the livestock industry. A cleaner environment inspires and drives the designer in her Fall 2008/Spring 2009 line. One-of-a-kind, paint-splattered, canvas oxford shoes are a guaranteed conversation piece with a squared peep toe and stacked heel. An unexpected twist of lime and Velcro is found in Olsen’s tweed line of stunning urban dress shoes. A sexy stiletto in electric green elongates the curve of the arch, rounding the soft khaki top from a heavy Velcro strap to another playful peep toe. Olsen controls the factories her shoes are produced in to ensure ethical treatment of workers and the use of fair-trade materials. Undoubtedly, these eccentric shoes will revolutionize the design of stale green fashion design defending their motto: “There is only the truth.”

Accenting Stella McCartney’s predominately neutral palette, her coveted vegan shoes scattered London’s Spring/Summer 2009 runway in both complimentary shades of nude and outbursts of orange and blue. McCartney’s dexterous shoe designs glided down the runway playing to both sides of the ultra-feminine formula. Inspired by ‘80s sportswear, the talismanic designer matched tailored two-piece, pleated business suits with traffic-stopping, Balenciaga-esque clear-heeled shoes. A common characteristic of fetish wear, this clear-as-glass heel seals the instep of the high arched foot with an elaborate layer of swirling vinyl cord and mesh. Almost identical designs were found in creamy nude and murky grey that radiated against the glittering Lucite heel. McCartney also premiered spool-heeled art pieces with plastic toe straps and skinny, delicate vinyl detailing that flawlessly felicitated her whimsical provocation of the beach and city streets. Growing-up vegetarian with parents, Paul and Linda, Stella’s entire label is animal friendly and is endorsed by, and benefits, major animal rights organizations.

Famous faces, names and promising designers unite to protect the right to be fabulous without the cost of innocent lives. Passionately, these designers realize ingenuous and enlightened designs for Spring/Summer 2009 for any class of activist and fashion maven. Forget the crunchy unisex hemp clogs of the past for an evolved and sleek silhouette that helps earth’s tomorrow.