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Flamingos Life taking a walk on the sustainable side

Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.

One does not have to be an evangelist of plant-inspired love affairs with beans to recognize the benefits of vegan ways, which have long extended beyond the confines of a merely meat and dairy-free diet.

Especially in the realm of opaque sectors like fashion, quantum leaps have been made in terms of creating long-lasting, durable and sturdy products, based on cruelty-free, biodegradable materials that naturally occur in the environment and do not rely on highly toxic plastic materials like PVC, thus leaving a much smaller carbon footprint given that they necessitate less energy to create.

Summa summarum: Veganism can be one of the veritable vehicles for change.

The fact that over the last couple of years advancements have been made in terms of stylish appearance paired with the fact that more often than not planet-friendly shoes will not cost you as much as non-vegan shoes, has helped to move vegan fashion endeavours from the niche they emanated from to widely accepted mainstream territory, gaining ground with both do-gooders with a conscience as well as fashion aficionados alike, with the once widely acclaimed tag “genuine leather” losing more and more appeal.

With footwear never not playing a major role in my wardrobe and my recent need to source a suitable kind of white sneakers, I deliberately set out to find ones not correlating with animals nor inhumane practices for harvesting fur or leather involved.

Interestingly enough, Spain has established itself to become a bit of a hotspot for ethically manufactured products, specifically when it comes to vegan footwear.

An example par excellence is the Spanish plant-based shoemaker Flamingos Life, i.e. an entity that by using materials like corn waste, renewable resources like bamboo, cork and natural hemp-based fibres, has developed vegan and organic yet durable alternatives to leather.

Based on Flamingos Life approach to local and ethical production via working with local factories and honouring their artisanal traditions, their aim is to make entire supply chains more transparent and democratic.

Positioning their DNA around associating each of their sneaker collections to a social project in a bid to balance their impact, e.g. the construction of water wells in Uganda, collaborations with NGOs dedicated to the reforestation of devastated areas and teaming up with Waste Free Oceans, makes the brand proposition only more appealing.

Flamingo Life’s USP is that they have a knack for nailing retro designs, with their collections being based on distinctly idiosyncratic style features that stand for the classic 70s, old 80s or retro 90s kicks, with subtle highlights accentuating the deliberately stripped back, coke white designs.

Another fairly young Spanish online footwear company that has evolved from initially using leather materials to then pivot its focus on designing plastic free vegan uppies is SAYE.

Take for example SAYE’s Modelo ’89 Vegan Cactus, which in the style department is quintessentially a nod to the late 1980s.

By using Cactus Vegan Napa, SAYE takes advantage of one of the more innovative plant-based materials, resulting in a delicate softness to touch while performing exceptionally well under the strain of what the urban day-to-day can throw at you.


photo courtesy of Flamingos Life

T - 27 May 2022


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