The difference between these shoes and most others on the market is these shoes have a story, a meaning and a purpose. They aim to create change, to empower women, and to form a connection with our makers.
It took me months of searching, and ultimately fate to be connected with a group of women in Bali who desperately needed fair work. They had been exploited for too long in a system that was not built to support them. As luck would have it they had been taught to crochet many years ago so already had that skill under their belt. They had been working in jobs such as farming, carrying bricks, and tending to cows – and living in a rural area meant finding fair work was almost impossible to find.
I was put in contact with my now good friend Putu who has known these women for many years, she was able to arrange for them to travel to Tabanan for us to meet and for training to take place.
The purpose of these shoes is to create a better world for these women (and hopefully many more in the not too distant future), to be able to provide fair employment and safe working conditions. So they can look after their families, earn a decent wage, and improve their living conditions.
I also aim to bring awareness to how our clothing is made, and what difference you can make when you support fair fashion.
Each pattern is my own. I spend many months testing different designs, crocheting each size, and trying them on different feet to make sure they are to the highest standard of comfort, durability and to also be visually appealing!
From there I have to create the patterns, and finally start teaching the pattern to the women in Bali how to make them.
It took me many months to find the perfect yarn – it had to be durable, available in a variety of beautiful colours, not too thick and not too thin. I came across the perfect hemp late in 2017 (for years all I could find was something that more resembled straw) and had to work out my patterns based on the feel of this thread.
Next it was sourcing the most suitable material to use for the base. I have chosen to use a vegan leather for these shoes, as I do not want to profit off of any other being’s suffering. However, I am aware that although animals have not suffered in the making of vegan leather, this material can have an impact on the environment.
I have tried other animal friendly materials such as cork, but this was not stiff enough to be hole punched and glued. I have researched other leathers such as pineapple but they are either extremely hard to source, or by the time they have been imported to Bali the overall cost of the shoe will be doubled, and I am already working on a very small mark up.
While the business is still small I can only do my best, and my main concern is providing work for these three women. However this is an area I will be continuously looking into to try to bring the overall ethics of the shoe up to a high standard, so both living beings and the earth are not being harmed.
First we trace, cut, mark and hole punch each vegan leather base.
Each pair of shoes can have anywhere from 120 to 140 holes, and each hole needs to be punched carefully, one at a time...
Once the holes have been punched, the talented artisans can start crocheting. This can take anywhere from 4-5 hours per pair. Each stitch has it’s place, and if there is one small error, this can effect the next row, and eventually the overall product. Although they are hand made and imperfections add charm to the shoe, there is a great level of skill that goes into making sure each pair turns out just right.
After the crochet is complete, they are sent to the local cobbler, who glues the rubber bases on.
They are then sent in small shipments to myself in Australia, and then posted to you! Our lovely customers around the world.
And there we go! A product filled with love, kindness, compassion, and integrity