There is a new leather in town, and it is made from plants! Move over animal products; it is time for cactus to take the stage. Voes & Company is a Vancouver-based lifestyle company that promotes conscious living through ethically sourced and sustainable fashion. They are dedicated to rethinking and veganizing modern on-trend footwear.
The Voes & Co Harlow Chelsea Boot is the first of its kind made from 100% plant leather. Cactus leather is the perfect balance between sustainability and performance. Contrary to its prickly exterior, cactus as a material is incredibly soft to touch while remaining strong and durable. There are many vegan shoes out there, but 99% of them are made from plastic, PU (Polyurethane), which is extremely toxic. Cactus leather is a sustainable alternative to leather-made products, free of toxic chemicals, polyurethane or PVC.
Meet the Founder & Designer – Desirée Dupuis
Desirée Dupuis has been a passionate vegan since she first learned about slaughterhouses while reading the book Skinny Bitch. Desirée came up with the idea to create boots out of plants after years of feeling frustrated with the lack of sustainable, ethical options.
“It’s no secret that we need to be more environmentally conscious with our choices, including our fashion choices and that leather production is an incredibly harmful industry; both in terms of the animals that are harmed and the harm it causes to our planet,” says Desiree.
She continues, “One of my biggest grievances has been finding nice dress shoes that are not made from leather or suede. I mean nice dress shoes, a nice pair of Chelsea boots, or a nice pair of heels – like some Louboutin’s! It has been next to impossible. Now more than ever, it has become apparent how much our planet needs us, and it finally dawned on me that someone needed to create beautiful, vegan shoes made ethically and sustainably. I figured if someone was going to do it, why couldn’t that someone be me?”
Cactus Leather from Mexico
In her search for the perfect leather substitute, Desirée came upon the world’s first highly sustainable and environmentally friendly organic material from cactus in Mexico by producer Desserto. To create an alternative to animal leather, the creators Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez developed vegan leather made with a cactus called Nopal, which they successfully showcased in October 2019 in Milan, Italy.
Responsible Development in the Textile Industry
At their farm in Mexico, Desserto does not cut down any trees, they do the opposite to that. They plant native cactus from the region the plantations which match the biodiversity and blend with wild flora. The Desserto plantation is fully organic and there is no harm to the biodiversity, also, their natural techniques stimulate the micro-flora and micro-fauna in the ground which is maintained without damage.
Only the plant’s mature leaves are cut without damaging the cactus itself, so there is a new harvest every 6-8 months. After cutting the mature leaves, they dry them under the sun for three days until achieving the ideal sought after humidity levels. The big win is that there is no additional energy used in the drying process.
Versatile and stylish, the Harlow Chelsea Boots are an all-season pair of boots that are great for the environment and an even greater score for your wardrobe.
Follow Voes & Co on IG to stay up to date on product availability as they move into 2021!
- Helen Siwak is passionate about content creation, marketing, shopping secondhand, promoting a vegan lifestyle, and supporting organizations and activists fighting against the status quo. She is founder and president of EcoLuxLuv Communications (Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, EcoLuxLifestyle.co). She is also the founder and co-host of V.E.G. Networking Group and soon-to-launch LittleBlack.Tee | firstname.lastname@example.org.
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