No, you’re not seeing double – Natalie Portman has worn Beyond Skin’s shoes again! This time she struts in our heels across the pages of Marie Claire’s September 2015 issue, which is also the cover story. We’re thrilled to the max to have such high profile coverage from Natalie Portman, and ever so grateful for her long-term support. Her interview with Marie Claire was taken at the time of the Cannes Film Festival back in May, following Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale Of Love And Darkness, a film adaptation of Amos Oz’s autobiographical book for which she also wrote the script for (entirely in Hebrew), and stars in. This is clearly an exciting time in her career as she explores directing, adding yet another string to her bow. During the festival she was snapped is a plethora of glamorous ensembles, confirming her status as an A-lister at the very height of fashion.

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[Image: Marie Claire UK, September 2015 edition, page 206-207]

PETA Award-Winning Design

In this striking photo she’s wearing our Alice heels, which have quite the tale about how they came about. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… Once upon a time, in late 2013, Beyond Skin and animal rights organisation PETA joined forces to launch a competition for new ambitious shoe designers to dream up an animal-friendly boot, heel, wedge or pump. Like us, PETA sees the importance of sustainable fashion for the future, and this competition was intended to encourage new shoe designers to embrace compassionate fashion. The best style was chosen by MTV presenter and PETA ambassador Laura Whitmore out of our top 10 favourite entries, and she crowned fashion student Alice Lambert-Gorwyn as the winner. Her design has a sleek combination of faux suede, faux leather and faux reptile skin, all composed of 100% vegan materials.

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Leather & the Environment

Vegan footwear isn’t just kind to animals, but also the environment. As you may already know, the production of leather is an inefficient use of water. On average, one cow hide makes 18 pairs of leather shoes, and each pair uses 1.4 million litres of water including raising and slaughtering the cow, and in the tanning process. 1.4 million litres. Crikey. That’s equal to having a bath everyday for over 40 years! When you put it that way, using that much water is obviously frivolous and unnecessary, even besides the intensely wrinkly fingers, scales and gills you’d eventually develop. Considering that 4 out of every 10 people in the world are affected by water scarcity, and much of the water in lower-income countries is being industrially used, we definitely need to reassess the way we use water. A good place to start is to shun leather.

As leather production is increasing at a faster rate than meat production, the argument that leather is a by-product of meat is losing traction. It’s up to you lovely conscious compassionate consumers to vote with your money and make the right purchases. Thanks to tip top textile technology, there are plenty of alternatives that look the part and avoid the many pitfalls of using leather or reptile skin. Using and researching new sustainable and eco-friendly materials is at the heart of Beyond Skin’s production process, and it also never gets in the way of our shoes being beautiful. It’s a myth that vegan shoes have to be dowdy frumpy sandals, and we’ve always created shoes with aesthetics to match their ethics.

Ethics & Aesthetics

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Alice’s design is a fantastic example of this ethos. These pointy-toed beauties would certainly suit a night out on the town, and it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t invite a tidal wave of compliments from passers by. These stilettos are sexy, there’s no denying it. And all of this style comes without the ethical and environmental costs of using animal skin. The materials used include mock crocodile skin, made from Italian printed polyutherane (which is more environmentally friendly than PVC), microfibre faux suede and faux vegan leather, with a resin sole which is 70% recycled. The materials we use are sourced locally to our factory in Alicante, Spain, to keep our carbon footprint as small as possible, whilst keeping your footprint as stylish as possible. Alice was over the moon to see her shoe design turned into reality, and must be pleased as punch to see Natalie Portman wearing her design in a glossy magazine, just as we are.

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These show-stopping Alice shoes are £145 and are available here, and don’t forget that there’s free worldwide delivery on orders over £100. 10% of profits from the sales of these shoes go straight to the PETA charity. If your shoe size is out of stock, don’t worry! Click on the ‘Size Out Of Stock?’ tab right under the image of the shoes, and we’ll let you know when they’re back.

Ethical Fashion Becoming More Mainstream

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[Image: Marie Claire UK, September 2015 edition, cover page]

With more celebrity endorsements in fashion magazines like this one, ethical fashion will become more and more common. The future of fashion relies upon sustainable, environmental and cruelty-free materials, and some bigger brands are now responding to this. High-street brand H&M are launching a nationwide Fashion Recycling Week from Monday 31st August to Sunday 6th September, in order to draw attention to their initiative to repurpose unwanted clothes. They’re working with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, and it’s a step in the right direction that they’re raising awareness of sustainability in fashion. There will be huge clothes collection boxes in Covent Garden which the students will use, if you wanted to take part, by the by.

This philosophy mirrors that of many sustainable fashion brands who promote slow fashion and work to restore value to each individual product. It wasn’t that long ago that magazines had whole features on repairing clothes and sewing on patches, which seems to have become a lost art in the midst of fast fashion. With more big brands like H&M championing slow fashion, hopefully other brands will follow suit and invest in ethical production rather than fast production.

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