• It’s time to rethink how shoes are made

    mary sue and caroline at the hayes street sustainable fashion maket

    We know and love shoes. We have spent our entire careers in the footwear industry and witnessed radical change over the past 20 years in how shoes are distributed and sold. Little evolution, however, has occurred in how shoes are sourced and made.

    The fashion industry has sacrificed the planet, and in many cases, the well-being of workers for the bottom line. A majority of consumers are not yet aware of fashion's negative impact on our planet and as this story unfolds, more and more are becoming wiser to these practices and will be looking for alternatives.

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    We believe the footwear manufacturing process needs to be turned inside out. Brands of the future will be rooted in ethical and sustainable sourcing. Makers and suppliers must solve these problems. One hundred percent cost driven decisions must be replaced with ones that consider the source of raw materials, environmental waste, water consumption, carbon emissions and worker safety.

     
    Material choices matter. Each raw material needs to be looked at through a critical lens. How a component is made, what it is made of, who made it and its carbon emission score card all must hold as much power as the look and the cost. Innovation in materials is critical and it is clear, only a very small amount is being found at footwear material and supplier shows.

     
    Designing for the future will be one of conscious designing, one that moves away from resource demanding materials in favor of ones that are less of a strain on the planet. As important will be the selection of factories that not only consider worker safety, but the usage of energy and water in their production process.

     

    BENDY: most comfortable shoe

    Challenges in modern shoe making 

    Chemical pollution is one of the biggest challenges in modern footwear manufacturing. The current processes at both shoe manufacturers and material producers are chemical intense. Now is the time to insist suppliers reduce and replace chemicals that can cause harm to people and the planet. These are big challenges and will not be easy to change but the problem solvers of the future will tackle these as our industry's environmental footprint is derived from these practices.

    Replacing strong glues and additives is the most challenging sustainability tasks in shoe production. We need to challenge adhesive makers to develop non-toxic, functional alternatives. For the BENDY, we choose a stitched construction rather than a cement construction to reduce chemical exposure.

    Excess waste must be considered as well. Consideration of material usage and cutting as well as having a well thought out plan for production waste can reduce a shoe’s overall footprint. Often times, just asking the question and brainstorming solutions can spur positive results as we recently experienced ourselves with our insole board supplier for the BENDY. By changing the two piece digital files for cutting the insole board patterns, we were able to eliminate 75% of the total waste.

    As an industry, it is our responsibility to ask the right questions and hold raw material manufacturers, suppliers and factories accountable to create the radical change necessary. We need to push ourselves to create and offer consumers footwear that is designed to last while being ethically made. It is encouraging to note that design students around the globe are already turning toward sustainability and technology coursework at Universities.

    Companies in the win category will need to challenge footwear’s current model and deliver products that are not damaging to the planet or inhumane to the men and women making them. As we brought the BENDY to market, we considered these elements.

    Mary Sue and Caroline are footwear industry veterans and co-founders of the BENDY by Ashbury Skies, an ethically made shoe, handcrafted in California. Their vision for the BENDY is to create and source a suite of stylish and ethically made products.

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  • Irregular Choice X Disney Beauty and the Beast shoe collab

    Do you have a heart of love a a heart of darkness? Embrace good vs evil in these Aurora and Maleficent wedges. Be bound by their spell and free by love.  Ashbury Skies is one of the select retailers carrying this  limited edition Irregular Choice Collection. Shop here



  • How is the BENDY ethical?

    a modern comfortable shoe, made in the USAmarysue | Indie Shoe Blog for Women A Modern, Comfortable, ethically made shoe: BENDY

     

    We consider multiple factors in the ongoing search for ethical and sustainably manufactured materials. By selecting suppliers such as a leather tannery with awards for sustainable tanning, to a footbed with 32% eco-content and an insole board made of cardboard where we went from initially having 20% waste to 5% waste, we are very deliberate in reviewing all aspects of our supply chain to create the most ethical product possible.

    When choosing where we make our shoes, we also review product quality, speed to market, reduced environmental impact and ethical conditions for the workers. This is why we selected a factory in the United States versus one overseas. We believe in a hands on approach with our factory partners.

    We will continue to make product enhancements and provide transparency in communication with our customers by keeping you informed of improvements every step of the way.

    Shop BENDY

  • Back to school with the BENDY

    When teachers and moms started raving about the BENDY we knew we were on to something. Check out our back to school video. To pick up a pair for yourself,  click here


  • BENDY goes to Europe 2019

    What a summer it has been for the BENDY. Our modern, comfortable, ethically made shoe was tapped as being a reliable travel choice and women were packing BENDYs for their vacations all summer long. What an honor to be the travel shoe of choice! Curious on how to get a pair?

    Shop BENDY here



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