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Monthly Archives: January 2020

  • Meet the BENDY Founders : Mary Sue and Caroline

    mary sue papale and caroline debaere Mary Sue and Caroline, BENDY co-founders

    Caroline and I have been in the shoe business our entire careers. We met in our first jobs out of college and became great friends. Over the years we went our separate ways, career wise, but always stayed in touch.

    A few years ago, having been in fashion for years and seeing first hand, its' impact on the environment, I decided to create a shoe that was kinder on the planet.  I immediately thought of Caroline to partner with me to build this shoe.  She was up for it and it has been a dream partnership.

    Well fast forward to today and we are well on our way. We created a modern, comfortable shoe with a lower carbon footprint and the results are in. Women are choosing the bendy when they need to look good AND be on their feet all day.

    The image above is Caroline and me on the first anniversary of our launch.   Please don't hesitate to reach out to us on instragram or facebook. Shoot us a question or a comment and we will be sure to get back to you.

    If you have a pair, thank you for your support. If you don't yet, give them a try and see if the BENDY works for you.

    Shop BENDY here

  • Leather VS Vegan Shoes: Surprising Eco-Friendly Results

    leather vs vegan scale with bendy shoe

     

    Sometimes, the sustainable answer is right in front of us. Local produce instead of imported food, reusable totes instead of plastic bags—these are practices that eco-warriors know and love. But what about those times when the answer isn't so obvious like leather vs vegan shoes?

     

    At first glance, a vegan shoe might seem like the most environmentally friendly option, but what happens when you take a step back? Here's what I learned when I compared sustainable leather shoes to vegan footwear.

     

    What is Vegan Leather?

     

    Typically, manufacturers craft vegan leather shoes using a range of materials. Here are a few of the most common:

     

    • Polyvinyl chloride, a firm plastic otherwise known as PVC

    • Phthalates, a chemical that makes stiff PVC pliable

    • Polyurethane (PU), or vinyl, that's used to give fabric a leathery appeal

    • Chemical solvents used to liquify vinyl

     

    These plastics and chemicals are just a few of the materials that go into vegan leather production. Both PVC and vinyl are versatile and inexpensive—not to mention their uncanny leather-like appearance—but they're not without their faults.

     

    With such an intense chemical makeup, carbon-intensive footprint (no pun intended) and lack of biodegradability, there's no denying the environmental impact of mass-produced vegan leather. Even though vegan leather might avoid the animal welfare issues of raising cattle, it isn't exactly environmentally friendly.

     

    Behind Stella's Vegan Leather

     

    Stella McCartney prides themselves on being a vegetarian brand. When so many other fashion labels take the easy way out, I think they're making a pretty noble stamp on the industry. Regardless, they still make their vegan shoes out of an amalgam of polyester and vinyl.

     

    To be specific, they use a recycled polyester backing and a coating made of 50% vegetable oil. This is miles better than most other faux leathers in the market, but the bulk of their materials remain chock full of environmental concerns. At the end of the day, a pair of Stella McCartney lace-up sneakers come at a steep environmental price—and that's all ignoring the dent they'll put in your wallet.

     

    Eco-Conscious Alternatives to Vegan Leather

     

    Not every veg-forward fashion brand has a hefty environmental footprint. While less common, we do have some eco-conscious alternatives to plastic materials.

     

     

    Although promising, this further complicates the leather vs vegan shoes dilemma as these materials don’t mimic the softness, durability and scalability of leather. Perhaps in the future we'll see more of them, but for now, most accessible vegan shoes are sure to have plastic components. For the sake of the planet, that's a fact we can't ignore.

     

    Leather Brings Lifespan & Comfort

     

    If you're not totally anti-animal product, responsibly tanned leather is a solid option. Leather is a natural byproduct of the meat industry, and disposing of the hide without making use of it is undeniably wasteful. Making use of leather from the right sources lets you contribute to a circular economy, and that's the most eco-conscious way to live.

     

    Why's leather been so popular for so long? Its lifelong durability, of course. A pair of leather shoes can last more than 20 years. When they seem like they're worn out, you can fix 'em right up so they feel like new. Leather often gets better with age, so long as you condition your kicks and repair them when the going gets rough.

     

    Folks with a dire need for comfort keep a pulse on the best leather brands. Real leather is breathable, eliminating sweat and foot odor. The material is pliable and forms to your foot, which can be a gamechanger for consumers with a need for orthopedic comfort. On the contrary, synthetic leather often fails to mold to your foot, inviting blisters and stinky feet.

     

    In Leather Shoes, the Tannery Matters

     

    Just like faux leather, the leather industry is not totally innocent. Tanning leather requires chromium, salts, formaldehyde and dyes. But just like vegan shoes, innovative technology proves to be the answer to a growing climate awareness.

     

    People have built wild efficiencies into the tanning process, helping to mitigate leather’s environmental footprint. Responsible, green-certified tanneries are the way of the future. Eco-friendly tanneries are saying no to old school tanning methods by reducing chromium in the tanning process, using water-based finishing and recycling water to keep their impact down.

     

    What's It Mean to Take Ethical Shoemaking Seriously?

     

    Taking the ethical shoe game seriously means digging into the root of your production process. It means considering the source of every material you use, questioning manufacturers and recycling resources whenever possible. That's what BENDY is all about, but this eco-friendly shoe brand is not the only one making shoes that are kinder to the planet.

     

    Reformation, Rothy's and Allbirds are leading brands with a sustainable motive. Like BENDY, they're playing the long game and considering their environmental footprint in every step of their product cycle.

     

    I'm confident that this shift in perspective will make a big difference for fashion-forward eco-warriors the world over.

     

    Fast Fashion: The Root of the Issue

     

    Whether you're buying leather vs vegan faux leather, one thing's for certain. Fast fashion is a detrimental industry, and one that neither side of the spectrum ought to encourage.

     

    Fast fashion giants like H&M and Zara violate both animal and human rights. Outerwear brand Canadian Goose traps coyotes for their jacket fur linings. Meanwhile, vegan brand Matt & Nat uses PVC and vinyl, all while producing their goods in China factories.

     

    The moral of the story? We need to do better—for the planet, its animals and the people who live among them.

     

    Find Your Moral Footing

     

    Rocking a high-quality shoe with an ethical background is a good feeling. Depending on your priorities, that shoe might be made from vegan leather where no animals were used in the process. Or it might be made from real leather with the help of a sustainable tannery.

     

    At the end of the day, the leather vs vegan shoes debate really comes down to one thing: your own morals. At BENDY, we're purveyors of sustainable wear, and that's what matters most to us. If your views differ, we respect that—just do the planet a favor by keeping the environment in mind with every step you take.

     

    BENDY by Ashbury Skies BENDY by Ashbury Skies

  • How to clean your BENDYs

    BENDYs are made with high quality materials that last.  Follow these tips to keep your shoes looking great, season after season:

    bendy-red-brush-touched up-R (1)

    1. Dust and dirt will accumulate on suede over time.  To remove it, brush your BENDYs with a nylon suede brush (a soft bristle tooth brush works too).

    hand with cleaning block copy-touched up-r (1)

    2) For spots that don’t brush off use a suede eraser (a colorless white or brown gum eraser works as well).  This will do the trick for any dry stain.

    bendy-yellow-with cleaner-R (1)

    3) If you still have a spot, it means that your stain is oil based. Try dusting the stain with baking soda, let sit for a few hours, then brush off.  If this does not remove it you will need a proper suede cleaner.  This can be purchased a local shoe repair shop or online.
    To clean a white bottoms,

    bendy-mr clean magic-v3 (1)

    4) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser pads work really well. Cut them into squares, dip into water and wipe around the surface of the rubber bottom.

    In the end, remember BENDYs are meant to be worn.  With proper care, your BENDYs will age well and last for years and years. Shop here

  • Best Shoe for Moms : comfy and cute (and ethically made)

    We are hearing  from more and more moms on how they feel about their BENDYs.  Most moms don't want  to toss out their sense of style when they head out for a day with their wee ones. Dirty sneakers don't make the cut with this crowd. BENDY is part  sneaker, part flat and Mom's tell us this blend is a win-win when they have their family in tow.

    Olivia Young from Simply Liv and Co shot these precious, family time images over to us from a recent outing.  This mom, blogger and influencer is all about Slow Fashion, Tiny Living and Motherhood. Head over to her blog to learn more.

    Shop BENDY here

    BENDY: most comfortable shoe Olivia Young @Simply Liv & Co

     

    BENDY: most comfortable shoe

     

     

     

     

  • The most comfortable travel shoe ever

    The most comfortable travel shoe ever!

    If you are like most women, you have many pairs of shoes in your closet but when it comes to a shoe for going on vacation the assortment shrinks considerably. Of course, we all have that beat up pair of sneakers that we can count on, but cropping your feet out of your vacation photos is a pain.  Women have been known to tolerate a fairly high pain threshold to look good. but who wants that hassle.  Any modern woman needs a shoe that falls in the feels-great-and-looks-awesome category.  I am talking about the kind where your feet are forgotten after you slip them on. These types of shoes are harder to come by and that is why we created the BENDY.

    The BENDY is stylish like a flat and as comfortable as a sneaker. Women who discover the BENDY usually come back from more colors for the next season.

    Here are some reasons the BENDY is so comfy:

    1.  Super Flexible bottom.

    2. Shock absorbing rubber soles.

    3. Cushioned footbed.

    4. Buttery soft Italian leather upper.

    What to learn more? Click here

    a modern, comfortable shoe with a lower carbon footprint BENDY by Ashbury Skies

     

    Liza from Scaling Good on vacation in New Orleans Liza from Scaling Good on vacation in New Orleans

     

     

     

     

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