“I believe that we shouldn’t wait for change, but we should start creating it ourselves. That’s what Victor Lou is doing, and that makes me believe in this project.”
Our manufacturer, Pedro, has a very clear vision of how to become more sustainable in the future.
“The amount of plastic that is piling up at this moment really doesn’t make any sense to me. I believe that it’s unacceptable to keep going like we’re going and we have to make a change. However, I wouldn’t see this as a revolutionary change, but more as an evolution. Step by step we make changes in the shoe industry and we’re getting more and more sustainable.
Our factory is a family business. When I decided to join my father about five years ago, my main motivation was to do something with the waste I saw. I was looking into a lot of different options. Working with biodegradable components, cardboard milk packaging, corck, tires, used coffee waste. We tried it all. Some worked, some didn’t. It’s mainly the technical aspects that are challenging. Now, for Victor Lou, we are working with waste leather from the car industry.
It might not be a popular thing to say, because people love vegan nowadays, but so far waste leather is still the most sustainable product we can work with. It will be thrown away otherwise, it lasts long and it’s very easy to stitch. Many vegan products have to be treated with glue or plastic after all, which makes it simply less sustainable. One aspect of sustainability is that you don’t mix components. If you want to be able to recycle, it means that you should be able to separate all the different components. There is nothing wrong with the plastic itself, it’s actually a great product, the problem is that we don’t use our resources right. Products should be recyclable and before that, reusable.
Waste leather is still the best option, but that doesn’t mean that we just stick to this one option. As I said before, this change is evolutionary and goes step by step. If I see the changes over the past five years, it’s already huge. Five years ago people thought I was crazy, trying out all these sustainable options. Now, there is a demand from our customers to be more ecological. That’s an amazing step forward. My dream is to create a vegan shoe, that is fully recyclable, made out of recycled components. It’s not the question if it will happen, but when. Until that time, we keep evolving and keep optimizing.
I believe that we shouldn’t wait for change, but start creating it ourselves. That’s what Victor Lou is doing as well, and that makes me believe in this project. From the beginning, it was really nice to work with them. They are really interested and open to my ideas. They also believe that making people aware is a huge step forward. People should be more informed. For instance, a lot of people don’t know that there is a European law that says that products (like shoes) should last at least two years. Manufacturers make products to break within the first year and it’s a waste of resources. The products we make will last at least two years, but I expect even way longer.
Consumers should start asking themselves, do I really need it? It’s great that you use cotton bags instead of plastic ones. But if you have twenty cotton bags, it’s still too much. Don’t use more than you really need and start informing yourself. If we all start doing that, I’m very positive about the future.”