This feature came through my e-mail from Daily Candy a few weeks back: Olsenhaus Pure Vegan Footwear.

Are you kidding? They’re vegan shoes? Payless has been selling non-animal made shoes for years – cheap. Can you say BOGO?

I visited this site all ready to find that they used some sort of petroleum-based vinyl and would blast them as hypocrites, but they don’t. They are more than their marketing, although they do state they use nylon and a synthetic lining. Other than that, they use natural and recyclable materials for their soles and uppers. But being animal-kind comes with a price – even their low heels are steep. Flat sandals retail for $99, pumps are $198 and a short boot is $235.

This statement from their website did make me laugh:

“While many shoes kill, pollute, and destroy lives and ecosystems on their journey to your feet, we recognize these destructive production practices and do not consider them ‘business as usual’. We at Olsenhaus believe these processes can evolve toward a respect for animals, ecosystems and people.”

Shoes don’t kill animals, people kill animals.

Alas, fashion has traditionally been great at marketing and re-marketing old products – a different sort of recycling. I remember when velour was THE fabric of the late 70s/early 80s. Then we all gave it to Goodwill in favor of some new trend. Then it came back in the 90s but it was the much more glamorous “stretch velvet.” It was used in ways that velour had not been used – burnout prints, beautiful skirts, scarves – keeping it from being considered retro.

Some items have stuck around for decades and keep changing names. Peddle pushers are clam diggers. Capris are cropped pants. Palazzo pants are split skirts. Split skirts are wide-legged pants. Skorts are scooters.

Some familiar items have been renamed and I’m not sure why. Jersey is stretch knit. Seersucker is puckered cotton.

The bottom line is that marketing can make or break a product. If your product or idea isn’t selling, rethink the marketing, then go vegan.

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