We've all been there before. You want new shoes. No, you need new shoes. But you have absolutely no more than $50 to spend on them. I've been a full-time college student for almost five years now. Trust me, I know the struggle. Just because I know a lot about expensive clothing and can spot a Celine bag from forty yards away doesn't mean I can afford one.
I'd be lying to you if I said half my closet wasn't made possible by the outsourced jobs of Forever 21 factories. It's definitely not something I'm advertising, and expensive brands certainly aren't exempt from questionable labor practices.
I am deeply committed to the idea that personal style and clothing choices are an integral part of the way we communicate to people around us. It's the physical manifestation of what we tell ourselves we are. It's so important, and anyone who discounts "fashion" as simply a shallow clique for rich white girls isn't taking even one second to think critically about it.
Luxury is a big part of fashion, and the stereotypical definition of the word "luxury" evokes images of exotic handbags made out of crocodile, or floor-length fur coats. Aesthetically and theoretically, I admire and understand these things. But I'm not shy about the fact that I make every effort to avoid animal exploitation when I purchase things. (I do still have some leather boots and wool coats that I am praying last forever, or at least almost ever.) But I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't make an equal effort to avoid human cruelty as well. Humans are animals too, after all!
Pictured on the left it Giisha, one of the master shoemakers working for Nicora Johns and actually being paid a fair wage for his craft. The company runs an Instagram and Tumblr where they post photos of new products, as well as photos of their shoemakers working.
They have everything from dainty brogues to platform boots, and the best part is, since every pair is handcrafted, you can customize EVERYTHING. Davey Havok ordered a pair of custom, black lace-up boots and they are fucking cool.
The idea for starting the company began with both nostalgia for an old American craft lost, and a genuine empathy for all the unemployed American artisans, who could be benefiting from having full-time fulfilling work as craftspeople making shoes. Currently only 1% of the shoes Americans buy are made in America, and this number decreases by 7% every year.
Bonus: They won't fall apart after two months like the cheap, factory-made shoes you're used to!
STAY UGLY (AND ETHICAL!)//