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As vegan shoe brands are hard to find, and generally lacking in aesthetics, we’re hopeful that conscious retailers, like Green Laces, will help speed up progression. We talk to Nina Färdig—founder of the newly relaunched Stockholm destination for vegan and ethically produced shoes and accessories.

What is the concept and idea behind Green Laces?

– The idea behind Green Laces is to provide the Swedish market with fashionable vegan shoes and accessories. We focus on great design by producers that also strive for a high environmentally friendly profile and good working conditions for the people creating the products. Each product is carefully selected by our team, and we constantly try to find new designers and partners, and to improve our standards.

For those in doubt: why vegan shoes?

– From our point of view, vegan products are always superior to animal derived products, simply because we believe animals are not for consumption. Treating an animal as something other than a creature with a right to its own existence is not cool, if you ask me. With that said, not all vegan shoes are great.

– It’s a fact that the animal leather industry is far from sustainable and heavily loaded with harsh chemicals, along with a very energy consuming production. Not to mention the land and water drain that the animal leather industry is claiming—resources that can be used in a more sustainable way, as far as I’m concerned.

– Also keep in mind that the people working in the leather tanning industry are exposed to a lot of toxins, and that goes for the pre-production of vegetable tanned leather too. This is something I believe a lot of people are unaware of.

“From our point of view, vegan products are always superior to animal derived products, simply because we believe animals are not for consumption.”

What criterias do you value when doing the buying for Green Laces?

– Needless to say: the products have to be vegan, and we have to have a clear understanding of the environmental standards and labour conditions in each part of the brand’s production cycle. We are aware of the fact that our partners can still be better—that is, use more organic materials and so on—and look forward to improving together with them.

– We look for goods with a classic yet contemporary look, as we know our sustainably oriented customers want just that. If the aesthetics are not right, we won’t buy it. And if we’re lucky enough to find a designer that is brave and really fashion forward—like our favorites Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather and Rombaut—we try to purchase as many styles from them as possible, and to be a good ambassador for their brands.

How do you become a PETA certified business, and what does this certification imply?

– The PETA certification is a quality proof for the animal welfare community, showing that the world’s largest animal rights organisation has checked the shop’s assortment. We were asked by PETA to be transparent about our suppliers and our company structure, and after they had completed the check, we were granted the logo for our marketing material.

What do you consider to be the sustainable/vegan shoe brands to watch right now?

– Brands that focus a lot on new technology, and experiment with new, renewable materials always catch my attention. Right now, there’s a German brand run by engineers called nat-2 that makes shoes from mushrooms and wood, but they’re still in the cradle.

Rombaut, that I mentioned before, is super exciting because of their great aesthetics and courage. They not only use materials like coconut fiber and cotton cellulose, but have also added solar panels to their shoes.

Bourgeois Boheme and Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather are the two vegan brands that we are most proud to carry, and whose development we are following with great curiosity.

Especially with shoes, it’s difficult to find brands that combine ethics (and veganism) with really good aesthetics. Why do you think it’s still like this in 2018? We can’t all shop at Stella McCartney…

– You know what they say: “Follow the money”. There’s no way to produce cheap shoes that are ethically made, and most of us are used to cheap. The system is totally capitalized, and it takes time to turn the ship around. Looking back 20 years—as long as I have been a vegan basically—the number of styles I can choose from nowadays is enormous in comparison, so we are moving forward.

– Today, with intelligent and cool young people pushing development forward, new styles and brands are coming every season. There’s also Swedish brands, like our darling Rodebjer, making vegan shoes. So I feel like I’m finally getting closer to my vision of a vegan planet.

“With intelligent and cool young people pushing development forward, new styles and brands are coming every season.”

If wanting to make sure that the shoes you buy are 100% vegan, what are the things to look for?

– You really need to ask the shop you’re buying from. If they can’t answer your question—or if they don’t know the background of the products they’re selling—don’t buy from them.

Are there any other vegan products, besides shoes, that you love right now?

– I’m obsessed with my Estelle & Thild Biohydrate Tinted Moisturizer that, to my surprise, actually makes a difference on my tired looking skin.

Finally: Tell us about the redesign of your store! It looks amazing.

– Oh, thank you! We have finally made the place into what we wanted. Interior designer Dennis Graben and artist Linnea Schröder from Cray Collective have been working so hard on realizing our dream of a place that is inspiring, luxurious and sophisticated yet playful. The combination of the monochrome surface with the metal and ceramics turned out really well; it’s now an environment that makes the products shine.

 

Visit Green Laces’ Stockholm location or shop at their online store!


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