Sustainable Shopping: One Pair of Shoes Three Ways
As the weather has gotten warmer here in New Jersey (yay!!), it is time to create a summer wardrobe capsule. Same as with the spring capsule, I will try to achieve this without any shopping. However, as I have a couple “baby” pounds to shed, I might need to get a few pieces. Also, after pregnancy, my feet grew one size up. Ugh!…:( Thus, shoe shopping it is a priority since I only have one pair of crocs and a pair of chucks. I sold or donated pretty much all of my shoes, so I have some extra cash to shop for a new collection. The difference is that I will only get a couple more pairs that will fit my capsule: a pair of sandals, a pair of flats, and a pair of heels. Actually, I can cross out the first item from the list, because they have just arrived and I am absolutely in love with them! I even decided to dedicate an entire post about them: my sandals!
To fully disclose, this is NOT a sponsored post, even though it may sound like it. I truly love these shoes, and believe you will, as well.
As I made commitment to slow and sustainable fashion, I wanted to find the best use and purpose to the dollars I spend. I did my research and found these sandals that are designed and handmade by Sseko Designs company. Here is a quick Sseko highlights that I am really fascinated by.
Facts About Sseko
The brand is based in Uganda. It means “laughter” in the Luganda language. The company not only makes this world better by sourcing materials in sustainable way, but it empowers women to pursue their dreams that otherwise would be lost in an inequitable society. Sseko Designs is helping women of East Africa to enter the universities. No, they are not philanthropists in the traditional meaning. Rather, they provide fair employment opportunities for women, where they are treated with respect and fair wages.
In Uganda, there is a 9 months gap between high school and a college, so students can have a chance to earn some money towards college tuition. The truth is that, by far, not many students can actually earn enough money for college. Sseko Designs provides that opportunity to talented young women. Right after high school, young women enter Sseko University where they are taught the shoemaking process followed by employment. During those 9 months, they can support a good living for their families and save money to pay their college tuition, which costs on average $2000-3000 in Uganda. So every time we buy their products (which are of a great quality as well), we help a girl to pursue her dream.
Let’s talk the sandals!
The beauty of them is that you can create different looks with just one pair of shoes by adding embellishments, which is a small accessory that you can attached to the shoe. That means you don’t need to buy an entire pair of shoes if you need a different color to match your outfit = less resources are used = less energy is spent = less pollution gets into the environment!
I ordered two interchangeable accents, so I can have a plain and timeless look, a sophisticated look for the night out, or spruce it up with a pop of color for the day or night look. And they have more options, in case you want to check them out. They also have more styles of sandals that you can give a custom look to.
Sseko Leather Sourcing
You may wonder how leather shoes are in alignment with sustainable and eco-friendly fashion? Why not a vegan leather-alternative? Sseko Designs and other sustainable fashion companies do their best to source local materials. Sseko is located in East Africa and source most of their materials locally. Furthermore, their leather is a byproduct of meat production, which generates an additional income for farmers who sell animals for meat. It creates job opportunities for local leather tanneries that use environmentally friendly leather processing techniques. A good quality leather, if properly taken care of, can last for decades.
On the other hand, it is hard to find a good quality leather alternative manufacturer in East Africa. And the available vinyl is made of poor quality materials that can take forever to biodegrade.
Thus, going leather-alternative is not necessarily eco-friendly.
Be Happy! 🙂