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My VIVOBAREFOOT journey started Fall of 2009. I had just finished a BA in dance and was in a moderately crispy state. I was in limbo, working odd jobs while looking for that next break, when my mother decided to go home to her birthplace to help care for my 93 year old grandmother.
“The road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing it with eager feet. Until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien
This song reminds me of the pilgrimage that my brothers and I did last summer. It has a been a tradition in our family to travel St. James’ Way El camino de Santiago when one reaches the age of fifteen. Last summer it was the turn of my youngest brother.
We recently wrote a blog entry for 10:10.
10:10 is an organisation which challenges and encourages people, businesses and organisations to cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 10% in 2010.
Here’s what we wrote:
Since signing up to 10:10 we have implemented several small, easy steps that have helped us cut our costs, carbon emissions and energy usage.
IN THE OFFICE
We are in the process of switching all our lighting to a combination of L.E.D. and compact fluorescent sources. We have a strict recycling policy to reduce the amount of office waste we throw away and maximise the amount we reuse and recycle. Our thermostat has been turned down a notch (much to the dismay of a few in the office!) Everyone walks, cycles or uses public transport (or a combination of) to get to work and we minimise the amount of international travel by effective communication.
We understand the inherent impacts of manufacturing our shoes and we are very much aware of the resources required to produce, package, ship, sell, and recycle them. Fundamentally a few key decisions in the design process, some careful and meticulous planning and a lot of hard work along the way enables us to offer a great range of shoes while working to reduce our impact.
Our shoes are designed to survive. A long-lasting shoe gives you more wear for the amount of energy that went into its manufacture
The design of a shoe is probably the most important aspect in reducing energy usage and carbon emissions along the supply chain. We at Terra Plana regularly re-evaluate what we can do to minimize waste and toxin use and maximize product use and love.
Here are a few principles we try and stick to:
- We design our shoes so they are lightweight. This not only saves energy when we ship them around the world but it is also better for your feet.
- We minimise the amount of glue by using stitched constructions. Our Pop construction uses no glue whatsoever. Where we have to use glue, our factories endeavour to use water-based adhesives.
- Our shoes are designed to survive. A long-lasting shoe gives you more wear for the amount of energy that went into its manufacture, while our use of traditional shoemaking techniques makes our shoes easier to repair when they do start to wear out.
We use as many recycled materials as possible including recycled plastic bottles
Everything we make requires energy input, but we do make careful choices in the materials we use to keep this to a minimum. We use as many recycled materials as possible including PET (recycled plastic bottles), partially recycled soling rubbers, foam footbeds, nylon heels and quilts from a Pakistani co-operative.
By using vegetable tanned leather we reduce the amount of toxins and heavy metals needed in a normal tanning process. The leather is prepared by using vegetable extracts to create rich and beautiful colours.
Our shoes are manufactured in China, which has a dense network of the most advanced (and eco-friendly) component suppliers in the world. Although helping us minimise our production footprint. Making shoes in China is the most efficient way for us to deliver genuine value to our customers in a sustainable way.
“Galahad Clark’s ancestors have been making shoes since the 19th century. You could say this seventh generation descendant of the Clarks shoe dynasty is following in his forefathers’ footsteps. It’s just he’s doing it without any shoes on. Convinced that wearing shoes is the cause of a slew of health problems, Galahad is the man behind the £7.5 million turnover of Terra Plana – a company with shops in New York, Vienna and Ljubliana, whose VivoBarefoot shoes with ultra-thin soles act like a scond skin and mimic bare skin.”
Brydie Rowan, a former member of the Terra Plana team in Brighton, recently put her skills and artistic prowess to some Terra Plana shoeboxes.
“I love pattern, textile, sculpture and repurposed art…so when I saw the Terra Plana boxes I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. I haven’t worked with cardboard before and I was really interested to see what movement and texture I could create with quite a static material.
I wanted to make something wearable and biodegradable, so instead of using any glues etc (which would have been a lot quicker!) I made the dress piece by piece using a single hole punch and natural string, scoring, cutting and fixing to create smooth curved forms on the body and a free flowing skirt with movement.
I wanted to represent the feel of Terra Plana shoes, so I tried to keep the lines quite clean and simple but stylish.
It took me fifteen hours to make, and I am half way through the next piece, which is more geometric and angular and made with united nude boxes.
I’ve only just started but I have some really extravagant ideas to develop now I’m getting the hang of the medium.” – Brydie Rowan, 2010
“Shoes, according to Galahad Clark, are among the most environmentally damaging consumer products. He should know. He is a sixth-generation member of the country’s best-known shoe empire, Clarks.”
Read the full article at the Times Online