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Earth-Compassionate Heels

Ethical Charmone Footwear

— August 19, 2008 — Eco
Vegan, Eco-Friendly and Sweatshop-Free. That sums up the luxurious shoe company, Charmone. (I'd like to add, "And damn stylish," if I may.)

I stumbled upon this company when the shoes I had ordered from eBay arrived. Naturally, I had been anxiously awaiting the 4" purple Mary Jane's for weeks, obsessively checking my post box daily. When they did arrive (6 weeks later), however, I was greatly disappointed upon opening the box. Esthetically, the shoes are fine, but the smell was over-powering the excitement and my house. The shoes wreaked of gasoline-plastic-ain't-never-gonna-get-that-smell-out, and believe me, I tried everything from laundry soap to vinegar and baking soda, all to no avail. These shoes are bound to a life of smelling like the back of a dirt bike. Le sigh.

It got me thinking about the fabric, obviously a factory made concoction, that I was about to trot around in and the better available alternatives. These thoughts led me to the calming website of Charmone.

Founded by Lauren Carroll and Jodi Koskella who both surfed the bust in the early 2000's in the Silicon Valley, where they eventually met each other. Both decided to follow their true passion, away from the World Wide Web, to fashion design. Since they started up Charmone in 2005, they have successfully experienced a "cult-like following."

With compassionate best practices towards animals, "using high-quality Italian microfibers that are constructed exactly like leather, making them breathable, lightweight and colorfast [and] water-resistant"; compassionate towards people, "made sweatshop-free in Italy and Brazil"; and compassionate towards the planet, "the materials are free from harmful PVCs, using instead a light polyurethane coating which is gentler on the environment..." "...70% pre-consumer waste to using recycled materials in our boxes, business cards and other printed materials." They have been getting loads of press a year after they started production from magazines, such as InStyle, Flare, The New York Times, Ecologist, and more.

These charming and desirable shoes may be cruelty-free and in harmony with the environment, but the prices are not totally harmonious with most bank accounts, ranging from $189-$477 USD. Or maybe they are indeed affordable, and I have just been getting what I pay for on eBay. Yes, probably the latter.