Natalie Dean Founded ethical fashion brand Beyond Skin way back in 2001. Since then the brand have gone on to become leaders in luxury vegan footwear attracting fans such as Miley Cyrus and Evanna Lynch.
Natalie is speaking at Vevolution Topics: Ethical Fashion & Beauty in the article below background to the Beyond Skin story.
The Beyond Skin Story
Founded in 2001, Beyond Skin was created as there was simply no stylish, good quality, non-leather footwear available. Past attempts to combine fashion and ethics had generally resulted in one side of the equation being sacrificed, so Beyond Skin set out to prove that fashion and ethics need not be mutually exclusive.
Being one of the first independent, luxury, vegan footwear brands their uniqueness lies as much in their approach as it does in their aesthetic of dynamic, vintage-inspired design. Beyond Skin endeavours to be first and foremost a fashion brand that appeals to everyone, not just those solely driven by their ethical ethos. Although fundamentally they are cruelty-free, sustainability is equally at the core of their philosophy; producing and working in a manner that is non-exploitative to animals, humans and wherever possible the wider environment.
Beyond Skin originally manufactured in England but eventually outgrew their UK manufacturer and moved their production to Spain where it remains today. Although a little before their time, they're now fortunate enough to have an incredibly loyal and fast growing customer based and are careful not to hammer home too hard the fact that they are a vegan brand, and prefer a softer approach introducing the design and aesthetic of the product first, and the ethical cruelty-free element later.
Beyond Skin make good shoes well. From everyday workwear, to party pumps, from boots to bridal - their range will have you covered. The best part? It’s all from a brand that’s constantly pushing the boundaries of cruelty-free, sustainable fashion without compromising on style. Think floral sandals with a cuban heel, knee-high faux suede winter boots, or striking stilettos - Beyond Skin’s footwear delivers guilt-free luxury.
This pioneering brand’s story begins in a small factory in trendy East London. The first shoes off the production line were handmade to order - a way of working they would outgrow in 2008, when they permanently moved production to Spain. The move made sense on a number of fronts - not only could they support Spanish manufacturing during a devastating recession, but they were just a couple of hours away from their base in England meaning they had good oversight of the production line.
While Beyond Skin are vegan brand, they don’t just avoid animal products. They endeavor to be good environmental stewards too, and try where they can to find and incorporate organic, sustainable or eco-friendly materials and components into their collections. That naturally means avoiding heavily polluting textiles such as viscose and PVC plastic.
They make their footwear linings from 100% recycled polyurethane, with a vegetable polymer coating. They also make extensive use of the recycled faux suede alternative Dinamica®, peppering the material throughout the range. Always the innovator, Beyond Skin are the first footwear brand to make use of Dinamica, but it’s already been utilised by luxury car brands such as Mercedes and Jaguar.
Beyond Skin are industry leaders in cruelty-free, sustainable footwear, but they continue to look to the future to make their brand even better for the planet. They acknowledge that plastic alternatives come with their own environmental impacts, but say they are far less than the toxic and energy-intensive processes involved in raising animals to turn their hides into leather. Right now there are simply not enough totally eco-friendly fabrics for footwear available in smaller quantities to create an entire line - but once there is, Beyond Skin aims to reduce and perhaps eventually phase out their use of Polyurethane and non-recycled petroleum based fabrics for good.
It’s this fearless approach to designing shoes that has won Beyond Skin fans around the world. Since launching, the brand has been worn by celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Miley Cyrus and Evanna Lynch and is cited as the ethical darling of the footwear industry. Needless to say, we at Vevolution we are also in love with their gorgeous shoes!
Your guilt free purchase is waiting… www.beyond-skin.com
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