In 2018 I visited five countries (Europe and the UK) to gain a deeper understanding about the challenges around the environmental impact of the leather and footwear industry. By then global awareness of the toxicity of this industry helped to focus on the need for change while exploring potential sustainable ways to keep humanity supplied with footwear and other products related to the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is one of the most profitable and exploitative industries and as such investment into ‘green alternatives’ is considered a necessity to ensure growth within the capitalist model. However, current values around economic growth over ecological balance appear to result in ‘green washing’ and using sustainability as a marketing tool.
Over the last two decades I have experienced many uncomfortable moments when questioning my own integrity using leather. I have reduced my meat consumption by 100% while still making leather shoes. I have been looking for alternatives to leather ever since.
My approach was twofold: For a thorough understanding about the leather industry from its very beginnings I chose to focus on Europe and the UK ,meeting with experts and visiting places housing expansive collections telling the story of leather.
For an introduction into ‘sustainable eco leather’ I visited established industry players, start-ups and exhibitions.
And now, in 2022…
The climate crisis and the pandemic brought into sharp focus the need to act quickly and more decisively and have further highlighted the lack of Australian onshore manufacturing and sustainable supply chains.
Over the last years I have been exploring ways to work collaboratively on a concept of ‘wearable shoe art’ to embrace reduced consumption and to promote longevity.
My current design is a combined work of Indigenous, Australian and European creatives.
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