A commenter commented the other day and requested an interview with……
me. (that was a very small picture of me).
I am copying and pasting the interview below, because I thought the interview questions were really great and thought provoking. Also I thought my answers might be a good intro for anyone new to the blog or who hasn’t yet found my article “where to find cool vegan shoes online” which is on the side of the blog.
This got me thinking how much I’d love to see interviews with others I admire in the animal rights community…like the founders of these vegan shoe companies, pretty much everyone I have ever highlighted on this blog, and also everyday vegans like all the people who find my blog and take the time to comment! Would anyone like to be interviewed? Comment below.
And without further ado, the interview….all questions in bold, asked by the wonderful Lulu Evans.
What lead you to become a vegan?
I am actually a vegetarian. I used to be a vegan. And really hope to go back to veganism sometime soon as I totally agree with the philosophy behind it.
Is it hard to find vegan friendly clothing and shoes?
At first I thought it was impossibly hard, but after starting this blog and doing some investigatory research, I realized it is actually easier than I thought. Almost all cheap shoes (under 50$) are made without leather because leather is actually quite expensive. Think about it: leather comes in the shape of an oddly shaped animal hide…you can’t really cut out too many shoes from one hide.
So you can find cheap non-leather shoes in almost any store that sells inexpensive clothes and shoes. (for example, H&M, Forever 21, American Eagle, Modcloth.com). I call these shoes “unintentionally vegan” though because they are vegan because they’re cheap, not for any animal rights reasons. If you are online, many places state the materials used in their shoes, and though it’s always good to double check, it’s a very good bet that almost any shoe under 50$ (that isn’t on sale) will say “all man made materials” or “Synthetic upper and rubber sole”, which means… vegan. As for the glue, all shoe glue nowadays seems to be synthetic (wrote about it on my blog.)
However!! There are a few vegan shoe companies that were founded on animal rights values. I call these companies “intentionally vegan”. These intentionally vegan shoes are awesome, but often expensive and don’t offer a wide selection of styles or sizes… So it can be still VERY hard to find a good selection of vegan shoes made for vegans.
Basically if you want to buy cheap trendy shoes that aren’t made with leather you can find them (still requires a lot of searching though) for cheap, but if you want to buy nice vegan shoes that were made by and for vegans, then you will be dealing with a much more limited selection.
Additionally, I think most vegans think it is hard to find vegan shoes because they aren’t aware that most cheap shoes are made from “all man made materials” and synthetic leather. If you gooogle vegan shoes, you usually come up with a few outdated websites like (not to name names) mooshoes.com, and they only sell a limited selection of not very cool looking shoes. So it looks like the pickings are slim. But if you happened to find my blog by some miracle in the world wide web, and read my article “where to find cool vegan shoes online” , you would see you have more options.
What do you look for in a vegan shoe? Are there certain materials that you prefer?
Good question. Basically I just look for shoes I like and think are cool. Sometimes I think it would it be better to buy shoes that are made without synthetic leathers– to protest the IDEA of leather and make more of a statement. Like only wear shoes made of canvas or fabric? But the only thing I look for now is no leather or feathers.
Vegan shoes have the reputation of being quite unattractive. Does this impact your decision in buying vegan shoes? Do you think that stereotype has changed?
So true. I think there was an idea left over from the 60s that vegetarians were all hippies who only wore hemp, straw, hand dyed their own fabric with tea and wore exclusively brown and tie dye.
It’s so dumb. You can see it in the marketing and branding still for all vegan and eco friendly things. Little do these companies realize veganism is extremely common with young people 30 and under– and especially with hipsters and Internet CEO types. I think the market for normal looking or cool looking vegan shoes is huge and mostly untapped. Most vegans are just like everyone else– and whoever recognizes this is going to make a big hit.
OlsenHaus shoes are around $200. What do you think about the price of vegan shoes? Does this prevent you from buying them?
I think the price of these vegan shoes is fair and necessary. These companies charge this amount for a reason. It costs more to make smaller quantities of shoes and these companies are not big companies yet. I’m sure they are charging us a fair price for their labor and expenses. However it does deter me from buying their shoes unfortunately. I wish I could support these companies more as I admire and love them for doing what they are doing, but I am tempted by cheaper options most frequently. But that’s the way it is. I think there is room for all types of vegan shoe companies. Personally I just hope some cheaper “intentionally vegan” companies pop up.
Is there a specific age range you believe vegan shoes are geared towards?
I think each vegan shoe company has their own target market but I think for sure there are not enough vegan shoes for every age range. I think my demographic (girls in their 20s) needs their own vegan shoe company with cool shoes.
Since more celebrities are taking interest in vegan shoes, do you believe that there will be a higher demand for vegan shoes?
I hope so! I think that is a great way to make people aware of vegan shoes. Once Kim Kardashian and Brangelina’s family is doing it, people will be doing it in no time. There is no reason the same shoes we are making in leather cannot be made with synthetic leathers. So it’s only a matter of time.
Do you think non-vegans would enjoy wearing vegan shoes? I’m sure many of them buy without knowing. Does the term “vegan” scare them away?
I like this thought. I totally believe that when faced with two identical shoes, one that was made by torturing and killing an adorable, thinking, feeling animal and one that is made out of all man made materials–every human being who has feelings and a conscience would pick the vegan shoe. That being said, I do think people may be scared away by the vegan label. vegans are made fun of a lot. When i think of a male vegan, I think of Moby. Short skinny and bald. Vegans need better PR. I think PETA is right on the money using celebs to change people’s stereotypes. They have sexy vegans, WWF champion vegans, etc. I think they are helping make veganism more acceptable and cool.
Vegan shoes are also known for being eco-friendly. Is this true? Are most vegan shoes eco-friendly? If they are, will this increase the chance of people buying them?
Another good question!! Many Eco friendly shoes are frustratingly NOT vegan. It annoys me so much. They seem to be cashing in on the whole “green” trend but not thinking or caring about the animals who are being tortured in the process. Leather tanneries are notoriously bad for the environment and their tannery employees even though leather is a “natural” material…which many of the companies who are Eco friendly but sell leather shoes talk about. “made from a beautiful natural leather”. Natural but cruel. I hate that.
Any additional comments you would have would be great.
I think we are on the cusp of something big. This is an untapped market. Animal cruelty is so REAL and so widespread that people will eventually realize it and do something about it. If people were more interested in animals and had more of a natural love for animals, as I think most vegans and vegetarians do, the meat industry and especially the Leather industry would not exist. I wish everyone could see as vegans and vegetarians do how cruel using animals for meat or fashion is– sadly not every one does see this as easily as others. I wish I understood why. Ever since I was little I have observed how some people naturally have compassion for animals, and some people just don’t get it. I’ve seen kids stomping on ants, cutting worms in half, not using humane mouse traps, using rat poison etc. WHY??? I think growing up with dogs helped me see that animals and humans share so many similar qualities, but I think some people are just born animal lovers–born able to understand this better than others! What do you think?
Little by little I hope people will come around. Especially with so much documentation about how an animal free diet is Better for our health and the environment! I also think that eventually meat will be replaced by meat grown in petri dishes. have you heard about those studies? I think it is very exciting. I never saw this coming. People will be able to eat meat, without killing animals. It’s a brilliant solution. Supposedly in the fall, they will have created the first petri dish grown hamburger. I think soon this technology will eradicate the horrific factory farming and leather industry and all shoes will be made without leather as well. Hopefully at the same time people will realize how cruel the industry was…and we will put it behind us as a dark dark part of human history.
Side note: I was reading your blog and saw that you wrote about Mohop Shoes. I’m actually interviewing Annie on Thursday, so that’s awesome to read about.
I love her shoes. I would love to read her interview!! Let me know how your project goes I’d love to read it when it’s done!!