Fashion Revolution: We Made Your Shoes

Yesterday’s Fashion Revolution Day was the perfect opportunity to celebrate our fabulous talented shoemakers working in our factory in Alicante, Spain! Here they are producing and packaging up Beyond Skin shoes ready for our lovely customers.

Fashion Revolution 2016 Beyond Skin

What is Fashion Revolution?

Fashion Revolution was born on 24 April 2013 in the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people and injured 2,500 more. These people were making clothes for many of the familiar fashion brands we see on the high street. Fashion Revolution wants brands to be more honest about where their clothes are from, in what conditions they were made and who made them.

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This year’s campaign, focusing on the need for transparency, was a resounding success, generating lots of articles, tweets and discussions. Fashion Revolution made a splash in the headlines too, with coverage in The Independent, Bustle, Vogue Italia, The Telegraph (twice), Huffington Post UK, Vice News, Grazia Spain, Refinery29, i-D, Dazed Magazine and Greenpeace, to name but a few. Bravo indeed!

Fashion Facts

According to i-D, “71% of major clothing companies believe modern day slavery occurs at some point in the making of their product, while just under 50% of brands can’t even name the factories where their garments are made.” And as founder of Fashion Revolution Carry Somers says, we can’t start to tackle exploitation until we can see it. Lack of transparency costs lives, so that’s why transparency is top of the list of priorities.

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By asking people to wear their clothes inside out, show the label and ask the brand #whomademyclothes, the connection between the garment workers and the garment wearers is made. Brands are asked to make the first step by gathering more information about their supply chains. After all, you can’t make sure your workers aren’t being exploited and environmental standards are being upheld if you don’t know where the products are made. Transparency equals accountability.

The Solutions

Even though Fashion Revolution Week has finished, there are so many ways you could get involved in helping this cause. Luckily you can be a part of the solution no matter how many global fashion brands you may or may not own!

Wear Ethical Fashion

Fashion Revolution 2016 Polka Beyond Skin Vegan Shoes

Livia Firth says, “Be an active citizen through your wardrobe”. By making ethical choices, you’re voting with your money for the kind of world you want to live in. For our ethical fashion brand recommendations, check out our ethical fashion outfit ideas for wedding guest attire, springtime, special occasions and bridalwear.

Email Fashion Brands Your Questions

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One way to make your voice heard is to jot down a few questions in an email and ping it to the brands you shop from. There’s no better way to make brands aware that their customers care about this issue than directly letting them know. If enough people email, logic dictates that the question #whomademyclothes will appear on their FAQs section of their website.

Watch True Cost on Netflix

This is an incredibly important film to watch. Hear the garment workers’ stories and get a clearer understanding of the current situation in this hyper-informative 92 minute documentary. It’s only a few clicks away on Netflix and well worth your time.

Follow Ethical Fashion Organisations on Social Media

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There is a smorgasbord of different organisations working hard to stop injustice in the fashion industry for you to show your support on Facebook. By liking their page, you’ll keep up to date with the latest news in the fight for a more ethical fashion industry, and help raise awareness of this important issue.

Clean Clothes Campaign

Labour Behind the Label

Child Labor Free

MADE-BY

Made In A Free World

Free2Work

FashRev

Centre for Sustainable Fashion

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Should We Close Our Zoos? BBC Horizon Investigates

A love and compassion for animals is the cornerstone of everything we do. And the people who visit zoos do so because they love animals and are eager to see them up close. However, as last night’s Horizon documentary illuminated, there’s no guarantee that zoos are meeting the needs of the animals they keep, which is problematic for the animal lover. There are some big questions that need answering. Are zoos really conserving wild animals? What effect does captivity have on wild-roaming animals like elephants, polar bears and gorillas? TV naturalist Liz Bonnin investigates why and how animals are kept in zoos, and explores the ethical issues that zoos are facing today.

A Spotlight on Elephants

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Photo: Safari Partners

The programme shone a light on elephant welfare in particular, as creating an environment for elephants to thrive in is very, very tricky. In 2003, game-changing research found that living in captivity halved the lifespan of elephants. Scientists found that captive-born female Asian elephants, who make up the majority of the zoo population, live to 19 years old on average, whereas even elephants being exploited in timbre camps live to 40 on average. Dr Ros Clubb, who worked on this study, said, “It really raised a massive red flag that something is not right in the way that zoos are keeping elephants”.

So what is being done about these jaw-dropping findings? Detroit Zoological Park took the initiative to move their elephants to a sanctuary in 2004, which is certainly a step in the right direction. To have broken with a historic tradition of keeping elephants, held his hands up and admitted to not being able to provide high enough standards of welfare for these animals is a fantastic first step. Meanwhile, here in the UK, the government has told British zoos that they must improve welfare by 2021, or they risk phasing out elephants in zoos, so there is hope for future generations of captive elephants.

Strange Behaviour

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Photo: Ben Saunders

We learned that many animals in captivity exhibit odd repetitive behaviour, called stereotypy. As many as 80% of carnivores performed stereotypic behaviour in captivity, which is rarely seen in the wild. Professor Georgia Mason took a magnifying glass to the causes of this behaviour, and found that species who were most likely to be stereotypic were those with large home ranges who travelled a long way every day in the wild. Wild orcas range 100 miles a day, while polar bears have a home range of up to 250,000 square miles, which sure sounds like a pricey patch of land for a zoo to even dream of owning.

If the animals are already in captivity, the size of enclosures would need to be tailored to the needs of each species as much as possible, the programme pointed out. Also, Professor Mason found that if the animals are given more choices in their day to day life, such as whether to stay close to the other animals in the enclosure or whether to spend the day alone in an entirely different part of the enclosure, they show less stereotypic behaviour. Perhaps there are more ways the lives of these animals could be improved in the meantime.

Are Zoos Conserving Wild Animals?

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Photo: Highland Adventures

The programme found that many zoos have reframed themselves as conservation centres, but this has been strongly challenged. In fact, the programme highlighted that 90% of all species kept in zoos are not endangered in the wild. We found that according to a report by the Born Free Foundation, English zoos appear to be making an insignificant contribution to the conservation of threatened and endangered species. For serious want of another phrase, the elephant in the room is the fact that zoos are primarily a display of wild animal collections designed to entertain the public, not to conserve endangered species. However, if these stats were all to change and a majority of their efforts were devoted to conservation, that would certainly be applaudable progress.

Wildlife Belongs in the Wild

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Photo: narenda44mail

As the phenomenon of abnormal stereotypic behaviour shows, wildlife belongs in the wild. Luckily, there are also organisations committed to protecting species in the wild, such as the Born Free Foundation. Although they didn’t appear in the documentary, we think it is important to include their research and actions in this debate. They work with local communities, finding compassionate solutions so people and wildlife can live alongside one another. Born Free explicitly opposes all zoos, and has conducted some heavy duty research into the performance of UK zoos, finding that there is no guarantee that the zoos are being compliant with legislation on how to care for wild animals.

Do Zoos Have a Future?

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Photo: Paul Davies

In the programme, Ron Kagan of Detroit Zoological Society says that in the future, zoos will have fewer animals, fewer species, and species in an appropriate climate, with a greater emphasis on welfare. However, as it stands, there are big changes that need to be made. Luckily, as the successful campaign against SeaWorld has shown, the changing attitude of the public can have a big positive effect on the practices of these organisations. Plus, the very existence of this programme shows, this issue is in the spotlight and will have to be addressed. Hopefully more people will come onboard with the idea that animals should not be used for entertainment, but should be left alone to do their thang in the wild.

The programme will be available for another 29 days on BBC iPlayer, and is well worth a watch to see all the sides of the debate. We recommend checking out the Born Free Foundation and their wonderful work, and the work of World Animal Protection on the issues of animal welfare in zoos too.

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Vegan Bridal Shoes: Our 2016 Collection

Is that the sound of wedding bells we hear? A little bird told me that two-thirds of all weddings happen from May to September, so love is statistically in the air. If you are planning your wedding for this year, or you know someone who is, then you’ll be well aware of the pressures of preparing for the special day. And if finding ethically produced, eco-friendly and cruelty-free bridal shoes is no mean feat. Luckily we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to get our vegan bridal shoes ready for wedding season. Allow me to introduce you.

Grace White Damask Courts

Vegan Bridal Shoes

We designed these classic courts to really embody vintage elegance, embellished with an over-the-toe Mary-Jane strap with a delicate diamanté buckle. We sourced the upper fabric from Italy, choosing the floral print damask to bring a subtle feminine texture to the shoes. They’re lined with our vegan leather, which is fully breathable.

Grace is currently in stock.

Patti Ivory Stiletto Sandals

Vegan Bridal Shoes

These rockstar heels have glamour written all over them. In this design, we chose the peep toe to frame painted toes, and decorated the vamp with small petal cut outs. We chose metallic gold vegan leather for the edge trim and the thin ankle strap for added glitz. As always, our linings are made using 100% recycled faux leather with a vegetable polymer coating, making these the ultimate in sustainable luxury.

Patti is open for pre-orders, with a £20 early bird discount automatically applied if you order now.

Lexie B White Damask Stilettos

Vegan Bridal Shoes

These vegan bridal shoes were designed to be pure and simple. We chose the sophisticated pointed toe and the stiletto heels for a subtle touch of chicness. The upper is the same luxury Italian fabric as the Grace courts. The 10cm heel is the ideal height, comfortable enough to wear throughout the day and well into the night.

Lexie B is currently in stock. If you prefer a smaller heel, check out our Isabella B design, also currently in stock.

Ellen Ivory High Courts

Vegan Bridal Shoes

This design is a Beyond Skin classic. If we were a band, these would be on our greatest hits album. Natalie Portman wore this design in red for the cover shoot of Harper’s Bazaar in the US in August 2015, so if you ever needed confirmation that these were A-list heels, there it is! The oversized bow would look super sweet peeping out from your wedding dress if you have a low hemline. We chose a simple printed Italian upper to complement the fabric of the bow. All of our shoes are PETA-approved vegan and cruelty-free, made using the finest of animal-free materials.

Ellen is in stock in some sizes.

Valerie White Platform Sandals

Vegan Bridal Shoes

If you could describe any shoes as charismatic, it’d be these. These statement vegan bridal shoes have a retro 3cm platform and block heels, with a crisp white vegan leather upper, giving this design a contemporary edge. The great thing about platforms is that they lessen the angle of the foot, making these heels super comfy to wear all day long, and ideal for twisting and jiving at the after party.

Valerie is open for pre-orders, with a £20 early bird discount automatically applied if you order now.

Eloise Cream Wedge Courts

Vegan Bridal Shoes

As much as we might want to wear the same heels all day, it’s no secret that your feet might need something a little comfier to see you through until the small hours of the morning if you’re wearing super high heels. Cue Eloise. These simple round toed courts have a gentle 5cm wedge heel, and a sleek vegan patent upper, keeping the balance between glamour and comfort.

Eloise is open for pre-orders, with a £5 early bird discount automatically applied if you order now.

Lucy Gold Brogues

Vegan Bridal Shoes

Metallic shoes are our signature dish. If you’re looking for something more suave, our gold brogues fit the bill perfectly. The soft almond toe is very vintage, as is the fine detailing on the upper. Brogues are the go-to choice for masculine dress shoes, so that’s why we wanted to freshen it up with an eye-catching gold vegan leather upper. Plus, the recycled lining will give you peace of mind that you’re helping the planet whilst you marry your beau.

Lucy is currently in stock in gold, with some sizes in stock in silver.

Caya Nude Cream Courts

Vegan Bridal Shoes

Another of our evening vegan bridal shoes, the Caya courts have a delicate 5cm kitten heel and chic pointed toes. The tidy bow detail on the toes have sleek metal tips, to add an air of luxury. The vegan patent upper in nude is the ideal shade to complement white, and the padded insoles and flexi soles boost the comfort levels to the max.

Caya is open for pre-orders, with a £10 early bird discount automatically applied if you order now.

Dorothy Nude Courts

Vegan Bridal Shoes

These win the award for being the cutest vegan bridal shoes in our collection. The sweet white trim, vegan leather bow and block heels together are just too sweet for words. The 5cm block heel makes them super wearable, and will protect you from any grass-based heel-sinking catastrophes, ideal for when the photographer wants you to traipse across the wilderness with your new husband or wife to get that arty shot if you both smooching in the sunset. That situ is decidedly not stiletto-friendly.

Dorothy is in stock in some sizes.

Beyond Vegan Bridal Shoes

If you’re looking for a smaller or larger size, here’s how to order your shoes. And if you’re looking for more ethical and vegan bridal tips and tricks, read our blog about ethical jewellery, vegan wedding dresses and words of wisdom from ethical wedding planners.

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