We’re stoked but not surprised that so many women are snatching up this shoe: Years in the making, the Editor is a luxurious but practical choice for anyone who wants a durable boot that is fashionable enough to inspire compliments, but does not in any way interfere with the ability to function. Plus, with its interchangeable shafts and endless styling options, the Editor is the crowning addition to today's conscious capsule and minimalist wardrobes, as well as the perfect travel shoe. Last but not least, like everything we make, it's also vegan and ethically-produced.
"It makes the BHAVA customer feel good to know that she is helping to support an independent brand trying to do what's right in an ocean of mass-produced products run with a profit-first mentality," says BHAVA founder and designer Francisca Pineda.
Here, Francisca gives us a behind the scenes look at how the concept came into existence, why she's so committed to ethical manufacturing, and what she'll be wearing with her pair this winter.
Every shoe design for me starts with what I want to wear. I worked in the fashion industry a long time, and the first thing anyone looks at when you walk in the room is your shoes. I do love shoes, but have found it really hard to find a pair chic enough to stand up to the NY fashion industry and my personal ethical standards, which include vegan materials, durability, comfort, and responsible manufacturing. As far as aesthetics, I want the shoes to look as good as any pair in Barney's, but sourcing the right vegan materials and finding manufacturers willing to work with them is another story. After several years, I'm finally 100 percent confident in the design, quality, and comfort of this boot to launch a Kickstarter. The Editor is a concept we think speaks to the many travelistas out there who want to support a brand that is incorporating ethics in every way possible without sacrificing on aesthetics.
Why is it important for you to create footwear that’s not only fashionable but also ethically produced?
Incorporating ethics and sustainability into every design is a personal choice for me. There are no regulations to ensure the wellbeing of workers, integrity of materials, or the treatment of animals in this industry, and most companies want to keep it that way. In this day and age, there is no excuse to contribute the suffering of any animal or human to make a pair of shoes. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is a challenge I was willing to undertake. I personally visit all our manufacturers and handpick all our suppliers. That’s the only way we can be 100 percent sure of an ethical product.
What’s your favorite outfit to pair with the Editor Boot?
So far the classic knee-high boot is the clear favorite among our Kickstarter supporters, but the tan over-the-knee boot is the one I’m most looking forward to wearing with a soft and cozy sweater dress during the holidays. They are surprisingly elongating on the leg, and lately I am feeling like rich warm tones add a feeling of luxury and sophistication to any winter ensemble. Then, in the spring, I can look forward to wearing the ankle length tan booties with pretty vintage dresses!
The victims of the current fashion system have no voice.
We do not believe it is necessary to use leather for premium footwear, and have always been and will always be an animal free company. In addition, we believe that a truly compassionate approach to design needs to go beyond using leather alternatives to include the environment, working conditions, and finally to protect you, our loyal supporters and of course your feet.
Let's take a minute to explain who these victims of the fashion system are. There is more to our mission of ethical footwear than meets the eye.
1. Fashion Victim #1, the animals. Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals, at Bhava we embrace the challenge of finding the most beautiful, durable and innovative materials for our footwear that is not derived from animals. From organic cotton linings, to hand painted "reptile" embossed cork, our creative director Francisca, travels throughout Europe and India to develop our signature fabrications.
2. Fashion Victim #2, the planet. No other industry associated with the fashion industry comes close to the devastation that the leather industry creates. In 2013 The Blacksmith Institute found Hazaribagh, an area in the capital of Bangladesh to be rated among the five worst toxic zones in the world. These skins are exported for finishing to Europe, China, and the US. There is no requirement for transparency of origin of skins. When you purchase leather goods country of origin only states where the shoes have been assembled, so there is virtually no way to verify the sustainability of most leather goods.
3. Fashion Victim #3, the workers. Bhava stands to to protect the health of the workers. Proponents of cheap labor say that any job is better than no job. We disagree, if a person's job exposes them to toxins such as chrome and the many heavy metals used in tanneries, you are not only compromising the environment, but the workers who are often women of child bearing age. The consequences of the exposure of these toxins to future generations is not yet quantifiable, but at Bhava it's not a gamble we want to take part in.
4. Fashion Victim #4, you. Shows like Sex and City popularized running around the concrete streets of NYC in stilettos. Based in New York, we also love running around NYC, however we don't love the idea of long term disfiguration, pain, sprained ankles and the many other misfortunes of poor quality footwear. We don't produce a single pair of Bhava shoes without a thorough NYC test drive for comfort and durability. Our timeless designs are meant to last for years, and all our styles are constructed with repairable soles. You may consider adding our eco-friendly shoe care kit to your shopping cart.
If you're new to the topic of ethical fashion we highly encourage you to watch The True Cost (free on Netflix). In addition you can participate in the annual Fashion Revolution Day events around the world. For more info visit fashionrevolution.org as well as the up and coming international events by Ecosessions.
We don't believe that any human is born with the intention to harm, and with love, compassion, and patience awareness will spread. However please keep the following quote in mind when reaching out to enlighten others:
"You can have no influence over those for whom you have underlying contempt." - Martin Luther King
All the passion and hard work in the world won't put a stop to the suffering of the world if we approach this discussion with a closed heart. Please find your path to stay open, loving, and forgiving and the world will change before your very eyes.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Bhava and ethical fashion. Below is more info about our company and founder.
BHAVA is an innovative women's footwear brand founded by designer Francisca Pineda. In its third year of business, Bhava continues to set a new standard in footwear design by sourcing the highest quality artisan, organic, recycled and cruelty free components. The Bhava aesthetic represents timeless elegance with a dose of ingénue charm. Fashion forward with a keen understanding of the all-day comfort required by today's modern lifestyle, each pair is tested for long term wear in the roughest of urban terrain, New York City.
With an emphasis on hand craftmanship our design team works closely with artisans to create products that appeal to its highly discerning customers around the world. Founded with dedication towards a sustainable business model, the working conditions of our manufacturing partners have been personally vetted.
Working from our atelier in Mumbai or Spain each Bhava shoe is exquisitely hand-crafted utilizing the best of both traditional and cutting-edge technologies and components. Bhava's founder, Francisca is a graduate of Parsons School of Design with almost two decades of experience working as a fashion designer. Fully committed to ethical and environmentally conscious design, Francisca teaches Ethical Fashion and Sustainable Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. As founder of the Ethical Fashion Academy she is committed to inspiring designers and future entrepreneurs in the Ethical Fashion Academy's annual Ethical Fashion retreat.
Francisca is frequently in demand as a speaker on ethical fashion at regional and international industry events and educational conferences.