government opinion thing and blog posts from the 20-teens

Old blog posts from the 2010s before we started on

And a more recent one: evidence or feedback sent to the parliamentary committee on ethics and sustainability in fashion during the May government who did zero preparation for ministers and rejected suggestions entirely, but the committee meet and go through the motions of taking evidence. One effect was for ministries to put more effort into taxing Boohoo suppliers and the like, and checking that they pay minimum wage.

A version of this was published on the parliament web site with all my typing errors and a few more: the links don't work and my smart numbers weren't smart. Anyway here is the gist

fast fashion from the far east - the incentives - why do people do it?

One of the calls for evidence and subjects for face-to-face interviews on was about clothing production in the far east, such as Bangladesh. The call for evidence began asking what were the incentives to fast fashion.

1.1 General Question: Incentives to the rise of fast fashion?
1.2 Proposal: introduce a social clause tariff
1.3 Proposal: trade envoys should only promote good higher education courses
1.4 Proposal: monetary policy committee should warn of effects on industry of a high exchange rate on monthly reports
1.5 Proposal: add factory-name labels to garments
1.6 Proposal: arbitration theme yet to be invented

recycling clothing & footwear - the problems - why don't people do it more?

Another of the calls for evidence and subjects for face-to-face interviews was on the general theme of reduce, re-use, recycle. The gist of evidence was about re-selling in charity shops and other second-hand outlets like classified ads online or export, and the problem of too many donations to charity shops compared to purchases.

2.1 Proposal: add factory-name labels to garments
2.2 Proposal: retailers to reduce free returns
2.3 Proposal: directory of factories in order to know about machines (repeated point)
2.4 Proposal: machines rumoured to exist ... change in pension law
2.5 Proposal: fund pattern-arranging software
2.6 Proposal: retailers to use size hangers
2.7 Observation: machines about to be invented or rumoured to exist

UK Clothes manufacturing or "re-shoring"

The last call for evidence and subject of debate was about UK manufacturing or re-shoring. I didn't realise that UK clothes manufacturing is different to UK shoe manufacturing. A lot more of it is unknown to inspectors of tax or minimum wages. It is done by firms that are reluctant to run a web site or a landline or give precise details of who works for who and when and where. That wouldn't work for shoemakers because the machines are hydraulic, heavy and unusual. You can't just pop-up with a fly-by-night shoe factory

3.1 Proposal: make a trade directory possible by releasing HMRC data
3.2 Proposal: Companies House to prompt for more useful descriptions of business on accounts.
3.3 Proposal: planning law to allow relatively quiet industry in residential and office zones
3.4 Observation: economics courses
3.5 Proposal: Policy Committee to publish a warning on each statement about the damage to industry caused by a high exchange rate
3.6 Proposal: Fund a free online costing course for buyers
3.7 General Question where we started: incentives to the rise of fast fashion include the Mayor of London's London Fashion Week, with its emphasis on the latest graduates from certain colleges to be given subsidised space on the Olympics site with government support.

Made in Great Britain – recommendations of quality products made in the British Isles – Made in the UK | 00.00.2014 and our Tredair-sole boots are mentioned in the blog! We are also mentioned on and and and more we are happy to list roughly in date order. | 01.12.2013

Veganism is more than a trend of power, it is a lifestyle. Vegans are against the use of animals as food and as raw material for the manufacture of clothing, footwear, accessories, etc.. If is is a form of altruistic life is a bit complicated to carry out, since the products for vegans, at least textiles, are rare. Before this special demands tends online Veganline offers a collection of "vegan shoes" of sorts made from recycled materials like rubber, hemp and microfibre materials, they even last longer than shoes made with leather, fur or material of animal origin. In this store you'll find everything for men and women: boots, boots, sandals, slippers, crocs, slippers, heels, dress shoes, Mary Janes and so on. So if you're vegan (a) or share the environmentalist ideology, here's a very good choice of shoes to give away or give you this Christmas.

Sadly a new vegan shoe brand is made in China - a country which may have some kind of health service in a decade, but has one of the worst track records on human rights and democracy. Amnesty international does not have an office in China. The brand is Brakeburn footwear. | 13.05.13
New blog suggesting alternatives to sweated labour and industrial decline. Includes an example of a speech about ethical fashion, sarcastically introduced as "You are invited to a master class in Fashion PR for big business" , because of the way advertising agencies and government departments use the vague concept of ethical fashion to bring together a lot of people into groups like Estethica, Ethical Fashion Forum, or an all party committee for ethics and sustainability in fashion, and manage these organisations to minimise discussion of cruelty-free clothing or UK manufacturing, and present a false consensus. Although one member of the group - Baroness Parminter - has spoken-up for animal rights, and lots of groups including Veganline are on the free mailing list that counts as "membership" of ethical fashion forum.

Cool Earth | 14.03.2013 - this seems to come free with an Ovo Energy account that Veganline uses or perhaps just the green energy tariff.
Cool Earth knows that the rain forests are worth much more left standing – both for the planet and for local communities.
Our solution is simple: to secure land that would otherwise be sold to loggers and ranchers and to price deforestation out of the market.

Here's how we do it:

  • With your money Cool Earth secures rain forest which would be destroyed over the next 18 months.
  • We put the money in a local trust and make the communities there the legal custodians of this land.
  • Through community rangers and satellite imagery we monitor and protect the rain forest from any illegal activity around the clock.
  • We think strategically, protecting land which will block off a wider landscape from illegal loggers.
  • There's no denying logging has provided an income to some local people.
    Cool Earth enables them to earn a better income through sustainable employment programmes.
  • By supporting schools, clinics and sustainable jobs, Cool Earth makes sure forest protection goes hand in hand with better lives.

Ovoenergy | 12.03.2013
Ovoenergy have just added a certificate to their site to say that has sponsored an acre of rain forest . As a customer you can change the link at the end of the URL to anything you want, such as Genghis Khan and it draws-up a certificate saying "Genghis Khan has sponsored an acre of rain forest". Ovo were cheapest for us at the last comparison, and have only two tariffs making it harder for them to conceal price hikes in future. 

Infopia inc | 01.01 2009

Deleting some old files from my hard disc I discover that Zappos shoes is "powered by customer service". This costs paid hours. Each paid hour of customer service requires a profit margin on other costs, shared between all customers equally. Traditionally, these are the costs of buying a container load of quick-selling shoes from the country with the most efficient managers and lowest-paid workers. An autocracy. Customer service expectations in the US are built on very nifty management of shoe demands and autocracy in China.

To really see what experience you're delivering to customers, secretly call your customer support or main number and put yourself through the communication process. Most people who do this instantly realise how broken their customer communication is and how far behind their competitors they are. Most customers want to get quality customer service quickly - any time of day or night. Look for ways to accommodate this. When it comes to customer service, follow the online shoe retailer’s motto of, "powered by Customer Service.” By focusing your company on a consistent, high-quality experience, you will keep customers coming back.

There was a call today from someone who cannot use the internet unless he takes two buses to a library in Cardiff, and rang to talk about his psychiatrist's other patients, his social worker, his interested in buying vegan shoes, and his punnet of four beetroots, bought from Morrisons. He ate one, but now there are six! I should give him Zappos' phone number.

Ecobusinesslinks | since 1998
Vegetarian & Vegan Shoes UK Wide range of boots belts shoes & wallets - ship worldwide.

WSDN Global Fashion Awards | 5th November 2012 at the Savoy Hotel
There's something odd about John Lewis and Waitrose staff getting a dividend for their entire worker co-op when each workers' part - their branch, their isle of goods may have done better or worse. Those who look for discounted veg at Waitrose know how some co-op members are better than others at getting-on with the reductions instead of gossiping about their holidays.
There's something weird about MPs voting their own salaries without any measure of value added that they can divide-up.
There's something scary about bankers and the financial services industry putting value on each others' bundled products which no individual can question but every sensible and critically-minded person knows will probably crash in the end, as it did.
There's some adjective to apply to fashion trade shows. I'm not the best person to choose an adjective because I'm not able to sympathise with them, but when the WGSN global fashion awards are judged like the X-factor and subsidised stalls at London Fashion Week by industry insiders, I can't take the system seriously or think it works.

M Butterflies Katz | The Vegan Truth | 01 October 2012 has been mentioned by a Vegan poet! We are just in her business listings rather than the poems themselves. She has added a longer list:

There's a regular demand for safety boots from Australia: fame as spread. Just now I discovered that Veganline is listed on Vegetarian Network Victoria . logo. Future batches may have the softer Tredair sole

I've needed a pair of shoes for a while now. Wanted something nice, and living in Northamptonshire something made locally. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting harder and harder to buy shoes that are made in Northamptonshire - once the capital of the shoe industry. Fortunately, I came across a company called Veganline, Although I am not a vegan, I appreciate the fact that Veganline rate their shoes ethically, and some are locally made.

I found a pair of shoes called camouflage shoes, with soles similar to Doc Martins which I used to buy and like, so I thought I would give them a go (price is half what it states on the web-site). They arrived by return post on Thursday, but I was not able to collect them until this morning from the local Royal Mail sorting office ~ when I eventually got in: Police would not allow anyone in because they were removing a bloke who wanted to pay by cheque, and was abusing the staff.

I got my shoes home, and put them on about half ten, its now twelve hours later and they have not left my feet, I've driven to Leicester, been shopping, driven to Kettering, done some jobs, and am now back at home with them still on, and they are still very comfortable. I'm impressed!

camouflage canvas shoes made in Wollaston, NN29camouflage canvas shoes made in Wollaston, NN29

Wildfire Magazine

These Boots were made for walking: 49 different styles of sweatshop-free vegan shoes, listed on page 31 of the pdf version. (Download is from New Zealand so leave it running and come back later.) Listed are Camouflage canvas boots with Solovair soles, Fargeot et Cie canvas-tops, Ethletics, and No Sweat hemp-tops. The same magazine features New-Zealand made underpants called Thundies.

Dains sells Manchester Hosiery out of administration

Kevin Reed | Accountancy Age | 05 Jan 2012

DAINS HAS SOLD Manchester Hosiery out of administration after eight months.
Administrators from Dains saved 30 Jobs - shoe trade at the knitwear manufacturer following its sale to Aikon International.
Manchester Hosiery has been in existence for more than one hundred years, and specialises in underwear and outerwear garments. [very thin yarn for warmth & a woven hose construction would be a better way of putting it] The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees Hong Kong-based Aikon take over the business. Aikon has pledged to continue manufacturing from the Hinckley factory. Dains director Andy Stevens praised the staff for their continued support throughout the administration.

Here is a gap in the market for any good accountant. Nobody provides services to staff who maybe want to buy-out their employer from a receiver. Sea France is an example of a company with employees who wanted to do something, but didn't have anyone useful to turn to. Oddly enough the Transport and General Workers' Union had that next to legal help in its rule book, but hasn't delivered.

Can becoming a vegetarian help save the planet?

Laurie Tuffrey | The Ecologist | 4th January, 2012
Speaking to the Ecologist last year, the vegetarian American author Jonathan Safran Foer suggested a possible reason why vegetarianism isn’t taken up more widely: ‘People use the fear of hypocrisy to justify total inaction.’ The idea that the arguments for vegetarianism lead to veganism, which can be seen as too radical a shift and stops people from making any change in their diet, is familiar to the Vegetarian Society’s head of communications, Liz O’Neill. ‘He puts it beautifully,’ she says.
One major problem with animal farming is the production of their feed. The crops are grown on a vast scale and combined with the space needed for cattle ranching, it accounts for the majority of the six million hectares of forest felled a year, according to Friends of the Earth. The inefficiency comes when crops such as soya, which could be eaten by humans, are being grown for animal feed instead. The environmental cost of this process is significant, as Watson explains: ‘If you need to cultivate the grains to feed the animals, you get a massive release of carbon dioxide, whereas if you feed on permanent pasture, then it tends to accumulate and is effectively sequestering the carbon dioxide.’

That Ecologist article suggests that fear of larger changes, or being called hypocritical, discourages small changes - that the fear of having to become vegan scares meat eaters away from change. Research into depressed people often finds the same pattern of catastrophic thought; of thinking a small change will have to lead to a big one and so not being able to take the first step. Another article in the Ecologist, below, suggests that most of us aren't aware enough of our hypocrisy and the waste that our choosy potato habit causes. Turning the argument around: if there were some people called Peegans who ate lots of damaged potatoes, would fussy eaters be more scared of being hypocritical or making a large change, or would we all be more aware of the consequences of fussy buying? Or would the two factors balance each other out exactly? Unofficial facebook page for T shirts: £1 off if you press "like" and cheaper than most organic or fairtrade T shirts

RIP Rosebank Slippers

Liquidated by the receiver 2 weeks after administration. I'm told "most of Rosebank's main manufacturing equipment, the vulcanising machines & moulds were actually broken up for scrap. The cutting presses were bound for India I believe and the sewing machines were bought by a local dealer called Clough Sewing". I didn't get this from the receiver who couldn't be bothered to take the phone call, suggesting that some receivers offer bad value to the creditors who use them. If you're looking for a job in Rossendale, you might ask your local MP why government agencies still support groups like the British Fashion Council and Ethical Fashion Forum that urge people not to buy British-made goods. At your expense.

Haynes & Cann, footwear manufacturers

If anyone has free working space with a strong floor, we could move this shoe factory. Last owners have to lay-off 5 staff and a landlord because they've lost their MOD customer for the moment. Staff are probably now laid-off. The lease ends 25th of December and the equipment will probably be dispersed to anyone who has made bids before then.

update May 2011: Someone got in touch - military footwear wholesaler asked if I had made any progress. I avoided the question of keeping the thing going as it is because the landlord wants £200 a week for the full space and the rubber sole machines - like big stoves - cost towards a thousand to move and need somewhere like a kitchen to sit and mould. Supposing a shoe factory can make £10 more than the cost of materials on an expensive niche-market boot, and a small vegan shoe boutique might sell 40 pairs a year, that's about 50 vegan shoe shops that have to be signed-up to keep these machines and all of this space. I don't know if it can be sub-divided but a footwear factory in Greece has paid a deposit on the machines so that's probably where they will go.

The more usual way of making shoes with glue or sewing is an easier way to make shoes because there's more chance of finding another factory to do the work. If any air forces round the world want ankle boots for fighter pilots made I can now get them done, being the only person who bid for the 1965 pattern ankle boot knives. This is quite do-able but most of the small tools for making boots have gone to BAE systems and defence buyers don't seem to want glued-together footwear. As for finding other markets for an ankle boot that comes in lots of widths, my supplier tells me it's not worth learning how to set-up machines to make a rare boot just for the odd 50-pair order.

West Midlands Vegan Festival 30th of October won't be there but it's billed as "the biggest north of London".

The  Development Awareness Fund closed

This well-meaning initiative from more prosperous times aimed to promote fairtrade aid. Instead of paying farmers, the fund paid teachers & activists closer to home to encourage us to buy fair trade products. Another ministry dealt with UK products and didn't work alongside to promote the ethical reasons to buy UK products. Nobody is recorded on the Department for International Development web site as grant-aided to promote Austin Metros or Damart Thermals alongside fairtrade products, even as an free extra next to their fairtrade work.

Recession killed the fund. And contradictions emerged. One of the largest final grants was to a group who try to help unemployed youth in Tower Hamlets who are effected by the decline in UK garment manufacturing. Remedy? Import fairtrade garments. And don't expect help for them from a technical college - that money has been diverted to promote British fashion designers who want to use Chinese factories. Don't expect cheap work space or help from established local employers. Another £10,000 a year over 3 years was awarded to a group within walking distance of Brick Lane, Ethical Fashion Forum, who work from a garment factory that the London Development Agency has paid to convert to more modern uses: "Fashion Plus - Fashioning Development": a project to reduce poverty and create sustainable livelihoods in the supply chains to the UK fashion industry, through increasing understanding of development issues amongst fashion professionals." They are now advertising for a paid events organiser to promote third world products while neglecting to promote products made in factories like the one closed to provide them office space off Brick Lane. And they continue to work with Claire Lissaman, above, who thinks that one of the best factories she has seen was in China and has nothing to say about democracy or a welfare state or the free hospital down the road from Brick Lane that is not available to people in China.


Widely-quoted press releases from the British Fashion Council continue to claim "orders in excess of £100 million" despite their sponsor, London Development Agency, being unable to reveal any detail under the freedom of information act. Some of the quotes even name Canon as the principal sponsor, although the quango blacked-out the amount it receives as commercially sensitive.

"We do not hold information relating to the statistical method used. However we have been informed by the British Fashion Council that the evidence and statistics they report to the LDA are gathered though a variety of methods, including detailed follow-up with buyers and press who have attended London Fashion Week, typically by way of a telephone interview, in order to establish the value of the orders placed and media coverage generated."

The full text of British Fashion Council's report to the London Development Agency does not mention any orders at all.

"As predicted, the number of outputs is decreasing each season due to the limitations on counting with a multi-category, 3 year project. This has meant that output targets have not been reached. This has also lead to a shortfall on diversity targets, with the exception of women receiving business support, which exceeded its forecasted figure.

Nevertheless, the project continues to deliver in each of the output areas. The number of fashion businesses who have benefited from the BFC's support through the project is now over 1100, and it is only down to the limitations with counting that the output figures do not reflect this.


  • Positive media coverage

See above for examples of the positive media coverage of LFW.

  • Private sector funding summary

Total private sector funding raised during the financial year 2008/09 has been as follows: [figures blacked-out]
BFC infrastructure:£??,???
LFW Sponsors:£?,???,???
LFW Participant fees:£??,???
LFW Hospitality/LFWEnd fees/revenue: £??,???
Total Private sector funding raised during 2008/09 = £3,090,000
UKTI support during 2008/09 = £33,000 "

veg news - usa vegetarian magazineLondoners living cruelty-free lifestyles welcome the country’s first all-vegan shop.

Veg News (USA) | April 2010 | Liz Miller

First it was an all-vegan, double-decker café, and now 2010 has brought London dwellers an all-purpose, herbivore store to satisfy every shopping need. Since opening in February, Vx - pronounced "V cross," for its location near London's Kings Cross station - has offered locals everything from cruelty-free clothing to plant-based groceries and baked treats. Shoppers can peruse the selection or grab a soy latte and relax in the shop's basement lounge. The Secret Society of Vegans, a vegan clothing company founded in 2004, owns and operates the shop. Despite its many vegan-friendly restaurants and cafés, Vx is the first all-vegan retail and grocery store to open in the UK. [apologies to Unicorn Grocery and other vegan retail and grocery stores - the maybe it should have said "the first cafe with a lot of shoes on the US tourist route"]

Tredair Bouncing Boots and Shoes were in stock at VX, near Kings Cross station in London, for a year or two about 2010. The Cafe owner, Rudi Penando, gave-up selling shoes and then moved to a town with slightly cheaper rent a few years later - last heard of working in Bristol.

Mr Allan Oakes, drummer, has just twittered a review of Bouncing Boots, so, here's a link to reviews of the band he drums in, Science vs Romance - has more.

# Today I'm rocking my new bouncing boots that I got from @ssov's Vx store. They kick arse!

VCross at 73 Caledonian Road opens this Saturday selling cup-cakes to eat-in, cat food and shoes. Tuesday-Sunday 10-6.30. Like all good vegan shoe shops, they ask you to ring before making a special trip if you're hoping for a specific style / size combination 020 7833 2315. Or when their stock control is sorted you'll be able to see on the site what's available and ask them to reserve it.

."...dumping of Vietnamese and Chinese footwear into the European Union"

"Following a lengthy process of investigation in 2005, the European Commission approved the imposition of anti-dumping duties to imports of footwear from China and Vietnam set at 16.5% and 10%.... "
"At the time, ... EU Trade Commissioner said '...correct the injury caused to European leather shoe producers. It is important that we act against unfair trade while encouraging legitimate and competitive trade from emerging economies...."

"The imposition of the above duty was decided for a period of only two years, and the Commission decided in 2008 to carry out a review of the procedure by launching a fresh investigation aimed at verifying whether or not dumping dumping practices were continuing. Meanwhile, figures produced by DE Enterprise and Industry shows that the leather/footwear sector, along with the textile sector suffered the highest number of job losses as a result of the international crisis (12%), and the most recent reports from the industry indicate that dumping practices are still continuing. As a result, in December 2009, the European Commission decided to extend the anti-dumping measures for another 15 months."

"You can read the Regulation (EU) No. 1294/2009...
Thank you for taking the time to write.."
Claude Moraes MEP
Church's shoe factory has pictures online. Any instant shoe-making machines they may own are well hidden from BBC Northamptonshire, but there are very few staff in the photos so it's just possible that a secret machine exists. London college of fashion used to show a student getting a technician to do the job. Pritt pads and cork filler come into it...
Every generation has a name for attempts to sort-out the relationship between students, colleges, employers & taxpayers.

Usually these attempts fail. Employers want courses in bed-making and customer service. Students want courses in escape from the above, by any means necessary, but may take a sideline course if it leads to work that isn't about bed-making and customer service. Colleges want to bully their staff and get more subsidy, while holding lots of committee meetings.

The main name for this generation in the UK has been Skillfast-UK which is being abolished in March and part merging with another media-led organisation. Meanwhile the Learning and Skills Council is also being closed if I understand right. There is a lurch from quangos which were expected to have separate full-time staff for each of the "devolved nations" to quangos which advise on cameras and shoe-making machines from the same desk.

Here is a list of employment specific courses that should be offered at college

  • fine art for forgers
  • fixing your own shoe-making / sewing machine or making one from scratch
  • writing the perfect add-on to open source software
  • pattern cutting

There are similar courses in publishing that London technical colleges don't offer, so publishers have set up their own. It's a pity that there isn't enough money in fashion and footwear for the same thing to happen.

London Fashion Week under the spotlight:
When people compete for resources - column inches or bed space or a job contract - the contest is more fractious then when people live politely alongside each other but in different worlds. The rules of engagement are more important. So with luck it is right, proper, posh and the rest to quote this article
with all its typing errors as an example of what not to do when subsidising an industry on behalf of taxpayers. Most industries are not subsidised. There is no grant for people who work long hours as tobacconists. So it ought to be a privilege to be part of an industry that the London Development Agency has selected to subsidise, and it is not. Sadly not because they are subsidising the competition, or if you live near London too, we are subsidising the competition. Why so? This is what the London Development Agency have paid a fashion innovation competition to do, and sustaining suppliers' jobs isn't on the list:

  • "To promote London as the world’s number 1 destination for inspirational sustainable fashion. "
  • "Engage with leading fashion colleges and their graduate programmes & create an incentive for the most talented fashion designers & graduates to work in accordance with sustainable principles."
  • "Ensure increasingly exciting pool of talent feeding into Estethica and Pure & cement London’s reputation as an incubator for new talent in the ethical fashion arena. [sic]"
  • "Gain international press and media coverage for the competition element and its winners"
  • "Improve the business performance of the designers supported through the project"
  • "Leverage private funding through sponsorship to allow the project to continue independently. "

In other words to make a noise for the Greater London Authority; similar requests about the £4.2 million pound London Fashion Week show that success is measured in column inches with softer outcomes including "clear buzz" and "direct spend". Last on the list comes an attempt to claim job creation among "beneficiaries" in the sense that they are contractors to the white elephant:

  • London based designers participating in LFW and other events in London
  • UK and international press & buyers attending LFW
  • Fashion industry opinion formers worldwide
  • London based event organisers
  • London based business support organisations
  • London and other UK colleges...
  • Fashion design students/graduates
  • Fashion models and model agencies
  • International guest buyers and press 2.12.09 auto transcribed 16.12.09

    There is no sign of getting any meeting with them as first promised, as it depends on getting an assembly member to show interest, but the questions that should have been asked are now online. To give assembly members credit, one passed-on comments and one asked a couple of questions in the assembly, and delay while waiting for freedom of information replies might have confused them: maybe constituents are meant to know everything or nothing and not delay while they find-out. 22.12.09
    1...ask all exhibitors & applicants to reveal their manufacturing sources...condition for future applicants...
    2a...judgment by people who do not know who has submitted the application...
    2b...contacting every sewing, shoe, & accessories factory in the UK to invite them to nominate any good customers for judgment... ...only ones to nominate...
    3...why the event costs more than commercial trade shows ... more detailed BFC accounts ....
    4...more detail about the business support element of the grant and how to benefit more than the current handful... A technical college - a bit like Open University - for fashion or footwear would be good. Or a directory of resources.

Your email dated 11 September 2009 was passed on to the London Development Agency from Dee Doocey's Office, London Assembly.

Thank you for your email which raised concerns regarding the seminar Making it ethically in China - a practical guide for fashion and textile designers" which took place on 28 October 2009. You mentioned that this seminar undermines the work of council trading standards departments in making sure that goods are accurately labelled. This was also the subject of a Mayoral question from another Assembly Member, Darren Johnson.

The LDA funded the University of the Arts, London to support the project entitled Own-It. This project aimed to provide business support, in particular advice on intellectual property rights and maximising commercial opportunities. The funding for Own-It ended on 31st March 2009 and we have no influence over the content of the seminars hosted by the University of the Arts now that our funding has expired. The LDA logo continues to be displayed on their web page as the project received initial assistance by the LDA to establish its internet presence. [polite sign-off from Audrey Slade, Director of Business, and International]


Andrew Boff, AM
Nicky Gavron, AM
Victoria Borwick, AM
Gareth Bacon, AM
Marad Qureshi, AM
Jenny Jones, AM
Caroline Pidgeon, AM
Darren Johnson, AM [...]
Mike Tuffey, AM 

Notes to editors:
The event was repeated three times, once in a high unemployment area of London with a strong fashion and clothes making industry, and once in Manchester two days after local wallet manufacturer JJ Blackledge wallet and promotional goods manufacturers called in the relievers. The first on 28 October was in the London's West End.

Blog: something has happened about London Fashion Week! requests and have resulted in an invite to meet from the Style Council, British Fashion Council or whatever they are called on the taxpayer's grant cheque, about whether they can help employment more and hinder less

Credit goes to officials of British Fashion Council and London Development Agency who have tried not to fob-off concerns more than they have to, and to London Assembly members who have echoed requests and given them credibility.
Sympathy goes to the Green spokesperson who went furthest and plans to ask a question to the mayor: he is landed with an invite to a tense meeting of people with hidden agendas who do not know each other and are likely to try and make each other look silly. I would go alone, but the initial invite to meet London Fashion Council was to the two of us: sorry to involve you.
The difficulty now is that none of us knows any of the others, none of us is magnificently clued-up about cobblers and the rag trade.

Many thanks for your message. I am responding on behalf of the Green Assembly Members, myself and Jenny Jones AM. I understand your concerns and have tabled a formal question to the Mayor of London. I will let you have the Mayor's response as soon as it is received.

Question to Mayor:

Do you think it appropriate that the LDA funded a seminar entitled
"Making it ethically in China - a practical guide for fashion and textile designers"
given that the LDA's remit is to promote employment prospects and enterprise in London rather than encourage businesses to out source their production abroad?

Cllr. Darren Johnson AM
Green Party Member
London Assembly
City Hall
Queens Walk
London SE1 2AA
020 7983 4388

Transcript of the China event web siteComment. Write-up about Globalisation: on

Another GLA member - the only person from his party elected - has also written to say that he will ask the mayor a question.
Ixabell blog reporting Bart Smithers and Jim Wickins | (in Italian) | Vegan Guide to Shoes (english translation) | 12 June 2009
Someone in Rome has placed a list of vegan shoe shops next to a report of two Sea Shepherd journalists assaulted, denied justice, and fined £1,000 for reporting a Namibian seal cul. Fab five items to help you buy British 28/01/2009

Every day we are highlighting five quality British items you can buy as part of our campaign to support more UK goods. Rosebank slippers, made in Rossendale, Lancashire: beige soled [...] at independent shoe shops and market stalls.

Audrey womens slippers in green red and blue are made by Rosebank; black ones on the same page were made by a neighbour. Albert mens slippers, current stock, were made by them; the style sold at will change to suit what they are making now.

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your email regarding the 'Own-It' event about ethically sourcing materials from China.
As the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Economic Development on the London Assembly I am replying on behalf of my colleagues Mike Tuffrey and Caroline Pidgeon.

I am very happy to pass on your email stating your concerns about this event to the London Development Agency, and have done so today.

Dee Doocey AM
Chair, Economic Development, Culture Sport & Tourism , Greater London Authority , Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority

This list of list-members was set by; I didn't think of parties and so for example wrote to all the members of the Liberal group instead of the spokesperson.

Dear Jenny Jones, Gareth Bacon, Victoria Borwick, Dee Doocey, Nicky Gavron, Caroline Pidgeon, Darren Johnson, Mike Tuffrey, Andrew Boff and Murad Qureshi,

Will you consider passing-on my concern to the London Development Agency about an event it has funded?

"Making it ethically in China - a practical guide for fashion and textile designers" is a seminar telling fashion designers how to cheat in competition with designers who use London factories by pretending that Chinese goods can ever be ethical; it is an event paid for by Londoners in order to put Londoners out of work. In more moderate language it seems opposite the LDA grant headings of
"Tackle barriers to employment" in London workshops, "Reduce disparities in the labour market""Address barriers to enterprise start up, growth and competitiveness". It also undermines the work of council trading standards departments in making sure that goods are accurately labelled. is the event (ref 19591) shows the last £200,000 annual grant.

Any forwarding of concerns to the LDA would be appreciated, and of course if they could ask the event to be cancelled that would be even better.

Yours sincerely, John Robertson

How to justify this ?

Despite first impressions, this is an institution that reaches out beyond the confines of the fashion cognoscenti. The British fashion industry, once you've factored in the high street, textiles, dry cleaners, hangers, fashion photographers and so on, is the second largest employer in the UK. It’s a juggernaut, and London Fashion Week is the driver. - The Times


With editorial media coverage worth £24 million, orders worth £40 million and business for London worth over £100 million London Fashion Week proves it is good for designers, good for fashion and good for London. - London Development Agency's PR Agents, Caroline Rush and Kate McGee at Crush Communications [2] press release 29 July 2007 "record figures for London Fashion Week". Crush are "professional, pushy, and highly effective" according to one client.

Probably the London Development Agency will have the sense to distance themselves from the first statement, particularly the "and so-on", saying "ask The Times - that was part of the £24 million editorial coverage but we can't claim it's all useful to taxpayers" and have some kind of system for saying how they justify paying taxpayer's money to London Fashion Week "despite first impressions". When they come up with a reply it will be posted on

They don't !

Dear Mr Robertson

We confirm that we do not hold the information of the description specified in your request {...}

The London Development Agency (LDA) awarded the British Fashion Council a three-year grant agreement of £4.2 million in December 2007 to achieve two objectives: to provide business support to London's emerging designers and to raise the profile of London Fashion Week to international markets (sic.).

The LDA receives an update from the British Fashion Council, the organisers of London Fashion Week, bi-annually after the close of London Fashion Week [...] analysis of the outcomes and impact of the event and the LDA funding. The project is also monitored through monthly monitoring visits by the LDA. At its completion the project will have a full evaluation by external evaluators in order to independently verify the outcomes and the economic impact of the investment [...]

We do not hold information relating to the statistical method used. However we have been informed by the British Fashion Council that the evidence and statistics they report to the LDA are gathered through a variety of methods, including detailed follow-up with

  • buyers and
  • press

who have attended London Fashion Week, typically by way of a telephone interview in order to establish the value of orders placed and media coverage generated.

I had asked specifically whether Chinese Burberry Polo Shirts ordered at the event were counted as a benefit to the London Economy, which buyers and press would not know - particularly buyers who got a subsidised trip and want to justify it. Full text on Statistics supporting success of London Fashion Week.

Love Fashion Hate Sweatshops

Lets Clean Up Fashion proposal fails to change the industry

London Fashion WeekFashionista's insider tips

The current tip is that if you are attending London Fashion Week, which is paid for by taxpayers & particularly London taxpayers, in order to reduce unemployment & disparities in the labour market, you can get 10% off at this hotel, which is also a private sector sponsor of London Fashion Week alongside British Airways who will get you towards the Mayfair hotel if you are among those paid at least £800 in subsidy by UK Trade and Investment.

The insider tip doesn't quote the list price post code or anything like a star rating for this hotel but it's 10% off something somewhere, and - hey! - UK Trade & Investment might be paying. Maybe you don't have to be a real buyer at all but someone who knows someone who knows someone who can pretend to be.

The British Fashion Council published a list of hotels this year after feedback from visitors that London was expensive, so now the British Fashion Council know and they try to help. The cheapest hotel they've heard of has rooms from £97; most are £150-£200. Maybe they are adding prices on in order to pretend they have taken them off again as all conference organisers are tempted to do. But a similar list produced for e-commerce Expo at London Olympia had four out of nine single rooms below £100 with addresses, distances from the exhibition and any star ratings quoted, and this is an industry claimed to have grown 300% since 2001 so if anybody is likely to be lavish, they are. Obviously it's West London rather than the West End of London, but then why is the British Fashion Council at Somerset House with it's 30-strong staff list? Why not Leicester where there are some factories? Or the closed Burberry polo shirt factory in South Wales? It echoes the times when British Steel Corporation and the National Coal Board had offices next to each other in Buckingham Palace Road. If you had to find the place least convenient for travelling to or from any textile or shoe factory in the UK, it would quite likely be Somerset House, The Strand, London W1.

By the way, London Fashion Week mainly shows Chinese fashion that someone has persuaded them is something to do with the UK. This isn't important to the government's subcontractors, the British Fashion Council, who are a trade association of chain stores and importers and so able to spend at least £97 on a hotel room. This is like giving the shepherding contract to a wolf or the zoo-keeping contract to a leopard. One of the perks of the job (other than putting home grown textile firms out of business) is that you can exchange favours with your suppliers, allegedly. If you are in the textile trade in China or Arabia you might be blagging a free trip to London and free promotion for your products at the same time. For example Burberry showed there as usual, just after closing their Welsh factory but Burberry polo shirt orders presumably count as part of the "orders in the region of 100m" boasted by organisers. I was offered fair trade vegan slippers at something like £25 a pair from a UK boutique which turned-out not to know much about where the things had come from and whether they were fair trade, which they weren't. So they weren't anything to do with a "British Designer" at all - people in India had made them, designed them, visited the factory and the only thing British about them was the subsidy. If the Indian state where they were made has a grant for export promotion they may have been subsidised twice and if someone at the factory had a friend of a friend who pretended to be a buyer and get a hotel room in London that's meant to be good too. Maybe someone came to sell some more shoes. Does this improve the world's economy, particularly for Londoners? According to the statistics it probably did, even though I cancelled the order.

Anyway if you want to cut unemployment and disparities in the London labour market, you can get 10% off at the hotel & buy fake fairtrade Indian slippers for a few tenners each. They just looked like ballerina shoes, nothing special. The official version follows.

"London Fashion Week Success

The success of London Fashion week has once again shown the wit and energy as well as sophistication that sets London fashion apart.

London Fashion Week is worth £20 million to the capital's economy, in terms of direct spend, and generates orders in the region of £100m, so it is vital fashion, continues to play its role in London's economic success and comes through the downturn stronger as well as exciting and innovative. To this end, the partnership of the London Development Agency with the British Fashion Council is working to ensure that London retains its international position as one of the key centres for fashion and that the small businesses that dominate this sector are supported. "

Journalists paid by UK government to promote Chinese goods - a recent Indymedia article - explains the good publicity, as well as linking to another press release that claims that orders in the region of £40m were created, despite their being no detailed method quoted of calculating either figure.

TUC Conference 2009 Motion - high heels |SOCIETY OF CHIROPODISTS AND PODIATRISTS

Feet bear the brunt of daily life, and for many workers prolonged standing, badly fitted footwear, and in particular high heels can be a hazard in the workplace. Around 2 million days a year are lost through sickness as a result of lower limb disorders.

In 2007 the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists launched its working feet campaign to give women some helpful foot care advice on how 'working feet' problems can be avoided. Following this campaign in 2008 the TUC issued guide called "Working Feet and Footwear" which includes a checklist for the Health and Safety Representatives.

Many employers in the retail sector force women workers to wear high heels as part of their dress code. Wearing high heels can cause long term foot problems, such as blisters corns and callus, to serious foot, knee and back pain, and damaged joints. However more needs to be done to raise awareness of this problem so that women workers and their feet are protected.

Congress calls on all employers who have dress codes that promote high heels to examine the hazards their women workers face and ensure that proper risk assessments are carried out, and that where these show the wearing of high heels is hazardous they should be replaced with sensible and comfortable shoes.

High heels may look glamorous on the Hollywood catwalks but are completely inappropriate for the day to day working environment.

-motion passed.
Veganline's gaps in the range of high heels are not intentional: the tools went from a factory in Birmingham to one in India, which has now closed, leaving a supply problem. We can order Chinese high heels but are looking for alternatives.


A new diploma was aimed at 14-19 year-olds by consortia or employers and schools "in 34 areas" apparently.

The London Development Agency spends more money promoting Chinese goods: they don't say how you're meant to check-up on the ethical practices or whether the Chinese government is developing towards democracy and a welfare state. That same weekend, JJ Blackledge promotional goods down the road called in the receiver.

Own-it Event: Making it ethically in China

A practical guide for fashion and textile designers
Sourcing materials or manufacturing in China should be considered seriously if you want to
compete in a global market and keep production cost low. Many do not think that China should be
your first port of call if you have decided to build your brand on a sustainable business model in
which worker's rights are recognised, the materials used are environmentally friendly and your
carbon footprint is as small as possible. However, China has started to acknowledge the need for
sustainable business practices in the production of textiles and clothing, and has set up the
Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium in Hong Kong in 2008 to promote just that.
Own-it, Ethical Fashion Forum and Creative Connexions have invited a panel of experts to discuss
the current situation in China, how designers can source manufacturers and material that meets
their ethical standards and how they can monitor compliance. A lawyer will speak about important
clauses in manufacturing or licensing contracts concerning IP rights and confidentiality, as well as
what to do when you are faced with counterfeits that are cheap, unethically sourced and damage
your good name.
Date: 28.10.09 Time: 6-8pm followed by drinks and networking until 9pm
Location:Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1G 7LP
Cost: Free

The Ethical Fashion Forum, a taxpayer subsidised trade association, has organised lectures and written a web site about ethics & 0-madeinbritian.jpgfashion. Anyone who talks about ethics is brave, and by doing it they have gained back-door entrance to another taxpayer-funded initiative, London Fashion Week, telling the quango that organic sustainable and fairtrade issues are important too and winning a corner of the show-space despite protests about the whole thing outside, year after year, from small scale manufacturers and vegans: events like Alternative London Fashion Week show better goods for no public subsidy.

They forgot to mention things like courts, votes, a welfare state of pensions and hospitals and unemployment pay, which all of them enjoy and take for granted as though the things were not under threat from economies which do without, and partly for that reason are much more successful, often growing 10% a year in turnover of money but less so in happiness: free hospitals have been closed in China, putting pressure on Indian states not to risk competitiveness by raising taxes to pay for more. One of the directors of Ethical Fashion Forum has said in a New Consumer interview with Adam Vaughan, journalist.

I don't think you can compare countries. You're just as likely to have a sweatshop down the road here in London in the east end as you are in China, India or Bangladesh. One of the best factories I've come across in the world was in China. One of the worst factories I've come across in the world was in China.

Her office is near Brick Lane in London, where there are free hospitals, pensions, schools and unemployment pay. Another director writes more feint praise on the organisation's guide to "the issues":

1. MADE IN BRITAIN labelling is more and more being associated with high sustainability standards by fashion designers and brands based in the UK.

2. Many of the brands using MADE IN BRITAIN labelling are actively supporting communities, offering opportunities for employment and skills development in a sector of the UK economy which has declined rapidly in recent years.

3. There is a pioneering recycled fashion movement which is looking at innovative ways of addressing issues of landfill and over-consumption in the UK and beyond.

4. A number of brands are leading the way in supporting traditional culture, skills, and ethical production of woollen clothing in the UK from field to final product.

5. By manufacturing in the UK, fashion brands can reduce the amount of shipping and transport involved in the supply chains for their products, reducing the carbon footprint of this part of their work. However it is important to note that MADE IN BRITAIN labelling alone does not equate to ethical practices. MADE IN BRITAIN labelling does not mean that a product is “Fairtrade”, which by definition does not include products made in the UK.

6. Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their lot and have more control over their lives. (Definition by The Fairtrade Foundation)

7. Many key raw materials for fashion products cannot or are not produced in the UK.

This includes cotton as well as many synthetic and eco-fabrics primarily produced in Asia. The majority of fashion components from zips to buttons, inter-facings and fixings are also produced in Asia, primarily China. Therefore apart from clothing made entirely from recycled product or wool, any fashion collection Made in Britain will include components grown and assembled elsewhere. Made in Britain labelling is not relevant to sustainability standards for these components.

8. Carbon footprint and transport

To put things in context, one study by the university of Cambridge on the sustainability footprint of a range of fashion supply models found that the carbon footprint of the transport component of products is a small fraction of the overall carbon footprint of fashion products. By far the largest carbon contribution is derived from the use phase, and therefore a consumer issue (washing and drying clothes , which are very energy intensive)

!9. Opportunities

Production of clothing or components of clothing in different parts of the world has been a part of the garment industry for centuries. In fact the clothing industry cannot exist without being global, thanks to some environments being more suited to growing crops such as cotton.

!10. This trade in garments and textiles has created a springboard for industrial development all over the world- with Britain and America being amongst the first to benefit followed by the “Asian Tiger” economies of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, and more recently, China and India. Producing garments or components of garments outside of the UK to sustainable standards can assist development in some of the poorest communities in the world, create sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for thousands of people.

!11. It is only by raising standards and wages outside of the UK that the UK garment production sector will again be in a position to compete on equal terms with production in what are currently low wage economies.

No. Not true. Wrong.
Some of these green union jacks are printed for advertising agencies, responding to what the public want to see.
Some are for boutiques & web sites & small campaigns, according to what they want to write.
I've seen no claim that container ships from China to the UK and back are a major source of global warming (although the empty trip back and the airmailed odds-end-ends and top-up orders might contribute).
I've seen no evidence of paragraphs 10 and 11, which look like something picked-up off the world service or a party political broadcast by the doing-very-nicely-on-high-salaries-thank-you part of public opinion, usually voiced in golf-clubs.

You cannot compare production in bad conditions to production in a welfare state: production in a welfare state like the UK is simply more ethical and more expensive deserves as much support as a fair trade banana or organic cotton because without support it is under threat. One group of workers in Europe or the UK has to pay taxes fs and hospitals and pensions; their employers usually have to pay maternity leave and national insurance and keep things more or less safe and legal. Another group of workers in the far east can undercut on human and welfare rights just as much as they can undercut in any other way. For example thermal underwear manufacturing for one firm has just moved from Leicester to the United Arab Emirates. There's nothing about Arabia that makes the people there more interested in thermal underwear than Leicester, except that migrant workers have few human rights, they and their employers need pay less taxes for welfare or justice or democracy, and in the poverty that goes with such a system there are people willing to work longer for less at the fiddly business of handling bits of cloth. The European Union allows tariff-free imports from the UAE, despite the country's use of migrant workers as examples of their legal system's punishments where native-borne defendants are more likely to wrangle their way out.

No symbol exists to compare to the Fair Trade mark which can single-out goods from welfare states. A traditional option, in a sort of Olympic spirit, has been to buy British. For some reason that is still promoted in sport but nowadays it seems ungenerous, so people like to print the union jack in green to show that they print it for generous and inclusive reasons. Only a decade ago Marks and Spencer used to have signs in their shops saying "over 90% of our produce is British Made" and a government ministry sponsored a "Britain can make it" campaign. Times have changed but for want of a new symbol, the old one printed in green is a compromise.

Some people have always thought that welfare rights are an annoying part of wealth and democracy which can only be dealt-with farming the labour intensive Jobs - shoe trade out to poorer countries. They are the same people who like to think that we live in a financial services economy with some intellectual property earnings: RBS and EMI pay the tax bill. The reverse is now true but such people have written the editorials and commanded the airwaves for so long that it is normal to consider their point of view. These textbook writers and columnists and politicians and broadcasters live in our heads like an invisible garden gnome which has to be addressed as much as the real people we are talking or writing to. Nowhere more so than in the heads of ex-pats who hear the news of the UK economy by listening to the World Service and reading the Times. Any such person would think that the UK had a strong economy, growing faster than that of India or China. It has a shrinking economy while those in India and the far east often grow by 10% a year, but it's still true that an ex-pat pound goes a long way and if you're working on organic cotton consultancy in Uzbekistan or well-building in Nigeria it's easy to believe that the home country is still at the centre of things and in a position of power; that there is a big strong manufacturing economy in the UK

Those of is who live in the UK know from our ISAs and pensions as well as from the papers and TV what has happened to EMI and RBS, along with all the less well known companies making thermal T-shirts in unfashionable styles or making shoes without the capital to invest in using more recycled products and less PVC. Usually the less well-known firms close while the banks get bailed-out. If one or two manufacturing firms stay open despite imported zips and use of non-organic components, that should surely be something to celebrate.

One other thing about ethical wool, which seems odd: sheep are still killed aren't they?
Why single out one example of a UK industry and choose one that kills animals?
Probably every single person who reads this has or still does wear some woollen clothes or tread of some woollen carpets, but most try to do so a little less. Maybe that's something else that ex-pat's in Uzbekistan haven't picked-up: Fair Trade and even the Soil Association are things they can understand, but the Vegan Society or the Vegetarian Society or PETA? To ex-pats that's quite a different thing.

On the subject of imaginary adversaries and people writing as though expert, I see
and have to admit I have very little idea what it's about.


  • Syed Kamall,
  • Mary Honeyball,
  • Claude Moraes,
  • Charles Tannock,
  • Jean Lambert,
  • Gerard Batten,
  • Robert Evans,
  • John Bowis OBE and
  • Baroness Sarah Ludford,

I am concerned about EU import tariffs.

I believe that if tariffs are too low, economic activity moves to countries without human rights, democracy, or a welfare state and which are cheaper to produce goods in for those reasons. Recent movement of thermal vest production from Leicester in the UK to the Gulf states is an example of this.

I believe that if tariffs are too high, economic development is reduced.

Do any of the European parties support stronger links between the human right record of a country and its tariff status?
For example raising tariffs on countries with deteriorating human rights records?

I have found a final paragraph in an EU leaflet, transcribed below, suggesting some very weak linkage, but hope to vote for politicians who would like a much stronger link between human rights & import tariffs which would raise tariffs significantly where human rights deteriorate and lower them significantly on goods from countries with democratic governments, a welfare state and a goods human rights record.

Yours sincerely,
John Robertson, [references quoted in the email at/lobby#1]

Tadios Magazine: The Good and The Bad in Ethiopia

The European Union has power to change the lives of people in the third world by linking import tariff rates to human rights and governance in each country.

London Assembly Members question use of taxpayers' money to discourage UK industry.

A badly-written email from Veganline to London Assembly members via has had only two replies - none from the directly elected member and two from list candidates. One, on behalf of the Liberal group, stated that London Assembly members have no direct influence but promised to forward comment to the Assembly-funded London Development Agency, a major funder of London Fashion Week and it's three permanent members of staff who are also known as the British Fashion Council. As politicians tend to get stamps on expenses and sometimes the wages of their secretaries, I have not given the liberals a link yet.

Another response, for the Green group, writes to

"agree ... about the need to support domestic manufacturers. I have tabled a formal question to the Mayor of London":

Mayors Question Time - May 2009, Question No: 976 / 2009: London Fashion Council

Question by Darren Johnson.
Would you support changes to the conditions of funding for the British Fashion Council in order to

  • support British shoe manufacturers and
  • encourage designers to work closely with them?

Answer from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

The objectives of the funding agreement between the London Development Agency and the British Fashion Council are to

  • support the development of the designer fashion industry,
    provide business
  • support to London fashion designers and to
  • strengthen and raise the profile of London Fashion Week internationally.

Under the terms of the grant agreement the British Fashion Council is delivering against a series of milestones and activities in order to achieve the project's objectives.  It would not be possible to make significant changes to these at this stage. 

There are already a small number of shoe designers who exhibit at London Fashion Week. 

The LDA will ask the British Fashion Council to brief you on their involvement with shoe designers and explore how they can work further with British shoe manufacturers.

If they ever did brief Darren Johnson, he refused to answer any communications from me about it. He answered e-mails from the fashion council and from me with "contact my assistant", who he must have told not to reply as no repeated contacts went un-answered - even contacts asking for a reason for non-reply. Who would have thought that assembly members are paid?

Equity Shoes, 42 Western Road, LeicesterRIP Equity Shoes, Sanders & Sanders restructuring, Alfred Sergeant re-structuring. £1.3m a year of taxpayers' money spent promoting Chinese competition.
Equity shoes has to lay-off all staff after a £1.3m gap in the pension fund.

info from UK Business Park, London Gazette, Shoeinfonet, Drapers Record and email from the receiver. (Video cleared factory and time line )

The UK's last staff-owned footwear company, with all its experience and equipment, has sunk without a trace in the news. Drapers Record, a trade magazine even reported that "The brand continues" as though an obscure label without a story of provenance matters, and didn't even mention the closure of an unusual factory. Like the John Lewis Partnership and Unipart, the majority of the Equity's voting shareholders were owned by staff. Risks and rewards were ultimately shared by one group of people - the people who did the work. This system had helped the 120 year old company survive most of its rivals by decades but unfortunately, like Sanders and Sanders, they shared the risk of being a paternalistic employer and pension provider. At Equity, as at Sanders & Sanders, pensioners' shares fell in price by a third after the effects of PLC banks on the economy. Small factories that were once large and once employed a lot of pensioners can probably survive a recession, but if they are also running the pension for most of these people and shares have fallen by a third, then there's a hold in the pension accounts that can only be hidden for a while and only reduced by selling the factory building. Taxpayers should help these firms. They don't.

Unfortunately the Equity and Sanders and Sanders hadn't used staff ownership or UK production as a sales point to consumers nor concentrated on ethically-conscious parts of the market. High exchange rates had driven Equity's expensive range to parts of the top of the market, such ballroom dancing shoes and 1930s style fancy leather courts, sold mainly in the factory's own branded styles. They hardly ever made exceptions and agreed to make shoes with other people's labels on them, and when done it was in quantities of 72 or 144 pairs at over thirty pounds each. Despite good tools, they hadn't specialised in the short runs and odd materials that the new ethical footwear sector tends to demand.

According to Leicester Mercury,

"Managers at Equity Shoes, which was run as a workers' co-operative, blamed its demise on falling sales caused by competition from cheap imports. [...] the pension scheme had a deficit "substantially" higher than the £1.3 million previously reported. Property developer Jamie Lewis Residential Lettings, which bought the site in November, has unveiled £20 million proposals to convert the building into hundreds of flats.[...]The factory closed after going into voluntary liquidation in January."

An industry insider said:

"It's difficult managing in a staff co-op because you can ultimately be sacked by the work force. They had a manager who could stand-up to that, but maybe he made the wrong decisions".

Whatever efforts were made to find a buyer after shifts ended near the beginning of December, the factory building was known to be sold, and major customers had been warned of the end of production, there is little to report after the voluntary liquidation in January. It's probably sensible that nobody contacted as the scale of business is so different. e-mails to Price Waterhouse Coopers about Equity Shoes reveal that it was sold almost immediately by a busy 25 year-old liquidator to two large customers, Freed dance shoes and a shop called Pavers that had no interest in footwear manufacturing, then or now. There was no time to consider smaller buyers, down-sizing or re-structuring, even though recent falls in the pound and rising interest in ethical footwear production suggested a new source of turnover and there was no catastrophic drop in the old.

25 Feb 2009 We have for sale: All the factory equipment from a quality leather footwear manufacturer based in Leicester UK. All the machinery is in working order and was in use up to Dec 2008 - Mark Granger Equity Shoes 42, Western Road LE3 0GQ Leicester (U.K.) E-mail: mark.granger at pavers co uk (small requests get no reply)
24-Feb-2009 Equity Shoes, the Leicester-based shoe manufacturer, has sold its name, stock and machinery out of liquidation to Pavers Shoes of York, saving ten Jobs - shoe trade. The phone number now reaches an answer-phone for the "Equity shoe club".
12-Jan-2009 Equity Shoes is to close its shoe factory in Leicester this month, with the loss of 98 Jobs - shoe trade.
23-Jun-2004 Equity Shoes is to shed 20 Jobs - shoe trade from the 220-strong work force at its shoe factory in Leicester in August.

Sanders and Sanders shoe factory, Spencer Road, RushdenOther recent closures include Sanders and Sanders, a family firm making short-runs of military welted footwear in Rushden with a high proportion of hand-cutting and some odd customers including the army of the Sultan of Oman. The factory has since re-opened.

No taxpayer aid is available for shoe factories despite government exchange rate hikes over the last 20 years. Government bodies must believe that UK services such as Royal Bank of Scotland and EMI are so superior to those available in the rest of the world that factories are an awkward embarrassment and should be closed before the election, just as negotiations about Rover were closed quickly before the last election. Instead taxpayers fund PR for something called "conscious awareness" from China. This is not a made-up quote; more follows from an e-mailed press release, sent one afternoon to advertise an awards ceremony starting that same morning.

The British Fashion Council's 1st 'Estethica Press Day' will take place today, Thursday 23rd April 2009, between 9am and 6.30pm in The Atrium, The May Fair, Stratton Street, W1. It will showcase 23 ethical labels whose collections will be edited by Yasmin Sewell, who among other projects is Chief Creative Consultant of Liberty.

Yasmin Sewell [who he? -ed] commented,

"I think anyone with conscious awareness would want to support ethical fashion. Estethica have put together a diverse and talented group of designers who each care about our world and express it creatively through fashion. This is a really lovely project to be involved in."

The British Fashion Council founded Estethica, sponsored by Monsoon, four years ago to showcase the growing movement of cutting edge designers committed to working eco sustainably. All Estethica designers adhere to at least one of the principles of fair-trade, organic and recycled and are selected for both their ethical credentials and design excellence. It is co-curated by Anna Orsini, Head of International Relations at the British Fashion Council, Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci of the label 'From Somewhere'.

Orsola de Castro[can anyone join in? -ed] said

"The press day is a great opportunity to give the Estethica labels another chance to be seen by the UK press at a time when the public is becoming consistently more knowledgeable and interested in eco-fashion. Estethica this season was wonderful, having grown in size and stature. Yasmin Sewell's expert eye and retail point of view will bring an added dimension to our first press day."

Editors notes:

  • The British Fashion Council (BFC) is a not for profit limited company set up in 1983 to promote British Fashion and co-ordinate this promotion through fashion weeks, exhibitions and show-casing events
  • Estethica is a BFC initiative and is now in its sixth season
  • Monsoon has sponsored Estethica for four consecutive seasons
  • The London Development Agency (LDA) works to improve the quality of life for all Londoners - working to create jobs, develop skills and promote economic growth. The LDA awarded the British Fashion Council a three-year funding package worth £4.2 million in December 2007. As part of the grant agreement the British Fashion Council will provide business support to London's emerging designers and raise the profile of London Fashion Week to international markets.

  • Results of public consultation, 2006, show massive support among interested people for better animal protection laws and funding for alternatives to experiments on animals " For instance,
  • 93 % of the respondents answered either "Yes, certainly" or "Yes, probably" to the question "Do you believe that more needs to be done to improve the level of welfare/protection of animals used in experiments by action at EU level?".
  • 79% of the respondents answered either "No, certainly not" or "No, probably not" to the question "Do you think that there is enough public funding at European level (e.g. EU framework programme for research) into the development and validation of alternative methods to replace animals experiments?". Finally
  • 92% of the respondents were of the opinion that the EU should play a leadership role in promoting in the international arena a greater awareness of animal welfare and protection, in particular regarding animals used in experiments.

Zero carbon output manufacturing for a recycled tire sole shoe

SoleRebels has achieved [zero carbon output manufacturing] this by re-imagining the traditional selate and barabasso shoe, a traditional recycled tire sole shoe found in ethiopia for generations. They've taken this age-old recycling tradition and elevated it to new heights by marrying it with Ethiopian artisan crafts and modern design sensibilities. In doing this they have turned the SoleRebels brand into a market-beating footwear brand that is retailed in countries around the world, including the USA, the UK, Japan, Canada, Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal and Germany.

One of the truly exciting things about SoleRebels is that they are green by heritage and not, as they point out , because some marketing whiz told them to be. They maximise recycled inputs and craft their materials and products in the traditional manner as they have always been made in Ethiopia- by hand. So that means authentically and historically zero carbon output in their manufacturing process.

As Tilahun Alemu explains, "Here in ethiopia recycling things is a way of life; in fact we've been recycling for years without ever calling it recycling. When you have limited resources everything is valued and valuable, everything has a purpose even if not the original purpose it was intended for."

Heritage organic Ethiopian cottons and traditional spinning and looming

SoleRebels also uses many traditional inputs like heritage organic Ethiopian cottons which they source from small scale cotton farmers and then spin and loom by hand. Spinning and looming in the traditional handcrafted manner means a few crucial things are achieved: the company preserves and promotes important Ethiopian artisan crafts while also ensuring that the small cotton farmers of ethiopia can continue growing an historic crop in the traditionally organic manner they have been doing for centuries.

"Stepping into a SoleRebel, like our pure LOVE series for example, which is entirely made from our famed hand spun and hand loomed organic Abyssinian pure cottons, is truly a decadent treat it's like slipping your foot into your softest socks," Bethlehem proudly explains with a laugh

 - freelance industrial designer,  based in Twickenham, who offered some help on early 360-spin images just to learn some photography skills. The CV looks impressive... military chairs... mop buckets... who wouldn't want ot be an industrial designer?

Veganline's London Fashion Week estethica shows's high heel Jane bootsAs shown a the British Fashion Council Estethica exhibitionJane tall high heel boots on show at London Fashion Week

Jane Boots were shown on Monday at the Ethical Fashion Forum stand. Shown by another shop, admittedly but their price was £182 wholesale. are charging the much less fashionable  £80 + delivery in the UK, retail.

To be fair on the competition, they don't look as though they expected to sell any shoes and previous catwalk shows have been in wellies, which also sold. [formatted copy here, and here, copy of rival price list

Green Guide - the directory for planet-friendly
Vegan shoes, boots, belts and wallets, some of them made in British factories specially for Current stock includes goodyear-welted cushion-sole boots [1] [2], hemp Unswoosher boots, in unisex & feminine styles.

Returned boots still go to 2 Avenue Gds, London SW14 8BP but a few years ago we tried a social enterprise for distribution run by a blind person. Problem-solving wasn't great either, but with a bit of luck the experience of trying to do business helped him and us. There used to be links and things here but the company isn't on the same urls anymore.

    Top 12 Sites for Vegan and Vegetarian Shoes, Belts or Accessories

22.2.2009 | | Admin Here you can find a few funky boots and casuals for both men and women as well as wallets and belts, plus they havehad a vegan recipe section for those wishing to find a little bit more from a vegan shoe store.

0-andifashion.gifAndrea Silver: AndiFashion lists us in the green eco-apparel section;| Indie Corner: "...mystery woman of my dreams [...] I have compiled a list of all vendors that offer vegan essentials. To keep track of these for years to come, I will write them all down right here" | Green & ethical directory |
Vegan shoes online from this mail order company in London, UK. Animal-free shoes have a small carbon footprint because they do not add to the animal industry with its demands for cattle feed

Zapatos veganos de Veganline |

Veganism is more than a trend; it is a lifestyle. Vegans are against the use of animals as food and as raw material for the manufacture of clothing, footwear, accessories, etc. A lifestyle that is a bit complicated to carry out, since vegan footwear is rare.
For this lifestyle market,Veganline offers a collection of vegan shoes all made from recycled materials such as rubber, hemp and microfibre materials that they even last longer than shoes made with leather, fur or other animal products. In this store you'll find everything for men and women: boots, boots, sandals, slippers, crocs, slippers, heels, dress shoes, Mary Janes, etc. So if you're (a) vegan or (b) an environmentalist, here's a great choice of shoes for a present or treat this Christmas.

Provident Style
If bright colours aren't your thing, these boots with a fake-patent toe are pretty spiffy too. And these ones are also vegan/sweatshop free. Fun fact about these&they were also featured in a porn film. I'd probably look at my feet all day and giggle about it!: XCap £55

0-crafts.jpgThe Crafts Council | Online source of vegan footwear..

listed in the local and ethical products sections.

In the 1980 and 1990s, UK TV news programmes had a regular slot for factory closures, just before sport and weather.

Conventional wisdom was that factory work was bound to migrate to cheaper countries, but a lot of it also moved to expensive countries with wages approaching or overtaking the UK like Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. UK production was hardest hit, though, in footwear apparel and consumer goods, which have come from the cheapest countries to support the high rental costs of chains of shops. At Stylo Barrett over 90% of shoes come from the "far east", usually a euphemism for China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma. Of the 10% probably none came from the UK and little from Europe. snap of container ship P&O Nedlloyd Barentsz off Belgium, donated to Wikipedia by Wolfgang Meinhart
The real problem was an economic policy. It was a emergency short-term policy in place from 1979 to 2009 and designed to remove inflation at all costs, including factory closures, by hiking-up interest and exchange rates until so much could be imported from the far east so cheaply that people felt good and the problem seemed to have gone-away. The habit of trying to buy local goods became unfashionable. There may have been more subtle underlying problems but they could be covered-up, leaving the UK economy as over-valued as the Icelandic one in terms of what useful things are done and what people expect to buy for their pounds in exchange. In both economies, money spent simply leaves the island. The amount that money circulates in the UK can be estimated by economists and used to be called "the multiplier effect", but now that it is about one it needs a new NAME.

At the same time, an opposite policy in China has been to close public hospitals, postpone any hopes of pensions, useful courts, or useful votes, and for those with money to invest large amounts of it outside China, reducing the price of Chinese currency and goods abroad. Again the policy has become institutionalised and what began as a chance effect has become a long-term fact of life. To exaggerate for effect: if China was a country full of slave labourers where the governors nervously hid all their bribes and extortions in Swiss bank accounts, it would count as very efficient in the conventional wisdom; if Iceland were to pump-up the value of its currency out of proportion to exports of herring and woolly jumpers, the conventional wisdom would be to call it a rich country in the new knowledge economy with a lot to contribute in financial services and fashion know-how in exchange for those cheap Chinese imports.

Back in the UK something is going wrong with the system. Almost every chain of shoe shops: Shoefayre, Stead and Simpson, and Dolcis have all shut-up shop while Stylo Barrett is in administration. Shops have trouble paying for the sheer logistics of moving shoes round the world as well as keeping a branch open all day; independent shops and internet retailers are offering more interesting shoes.

If any readers want to reflate the UK economy, the answer is to buy things made in the UK (or made in any other place where the wealth trickles-down) rather than buy things from China Vietnam and Burma. Brands like Sole Rebels from Ethiopia, along with camouflage boots , bouncing boots,belts and thick sole denim sandals from the UK, make your spending go around and come-around much more times than the chain stores did.

Lucy Siegle Ethical Trail: photo to illustrate The Guardian's Ethical Living sectionThe Observer p42, Comment & features section | 7 December 2008
For ethical shoppers:
Buying nothing might be the hardcore ethical stance, but it's too grim to contemplate. Ethical gifts should be right-on luxury (Jo Wood's organic cosmetics), or save you critical and expensive resources in the year ahead - hence our star turn, the LG steam-drive washing machine. While we might be tempted to buy nothing, if we stop spending, the communities that make the goods stop earning. Support businesses such as Sole Rebels, located in the historic village of Zenabework (near Addis Ababa) - this business re-imagined the original Selate shoe (recycled rubber-tyre sole shoe) and now it sells across the world.'s vegan shoes in the GuardianKate Carter | The Guardian Ethical Fashion Directory | 8/8/8 Supplier of a large range of vegan shoes, for men and women. Styles range from Wellington boots to canvas trainers via Bouncing Boots

Eenmanspostorderbedrijfje from London. Pretty range with other safety, walking boots, slippers and even orthopedic shoes. In addition, an extensive selection of belts.http://Groeneschoenen.Blogspot.Com/2008/07/voor-leervrije-synthetische-schoenen.html

[translated from dutch] Sole mail order small company from London. Nice assortment including safety shoes, hiking shoes, job shoes and even orthopaedic shoes. Also, a wide selection of belts..

Eddie Wilson | ; >Getting The Shopping In

Weekly shopping budget .

Buying supermarket value brands and buying fruit-&-veg on the market, my weekly shop averaged out at £7.98. If Id bought fruit-&-veg at normal supermarket prices and bought name brand products for everything else it would have cost £18.47, a saving of £10.49 per week (1 hour 20 minutes). That takes no account of savings from home cooking against the cost of ready meals detailed below.

What you do with it.

Packed lunch and a flask: If you work at a job, getting lunch can be pricey. On the two long days I work I now take sandwiches and a flask instead of eating at the canteen or buying sarnies in a shop. This saves £5.30 a week (40 minutes).

Learn to cook: Ready meals are a rip-off which waste resources used in refrigeration, production and transportation before they even reach you, the punter. Home-cooking is tons cheaper. You don't need to buy cookery books as there's loads of web sites with recipes. Check the food section of Kitty Chronics site; [not on]. Other favourites are , , , and . People think cooking is time-consuming but if you've got access to a freezer it actually saves you time. Once a month I do a big veg shop on the pound a scoop stalls, cook enough meals for a month, bag and freeze them. Then when I'm ready, I just microwave them and cook any accompanying veg.

Ian Aitch, The IndependentShopping Bag: Blackspot's anti-brand shoes

Clare Dwyer Hogg | The Independent | 28 June 2008 | photo right: Adbusters media empowerment

Three years ago, before "ethical" and "green" were in any way fashionable, and not very many people were thinking "who exactly stitched my clothes together?", the people at Adbusters were quietly raging at the injustices of the fashion industry.

Actually, they weren't that quiet. Vociferously against the use of sweatshops, they started the Blackspot campaign, which amongst other things, encouraged people to obscure offending brand logos with a black spot. But that didn't quite change the state of the industry. So they came up with their own shoes - an "anti-brand", if you will. And now over 25,000 people are wearing their "earth-friendly, anti-sweatshop and cruelty-free" sneakers and boots that sport a black spot instead of a brand name.

The factory they use is a Portuguese union shop which has been owned by the same family for three generations: the working conditions are outlined clearly on the Blackspot site, which include working hours from 8am to 6pm with a lunch of 1.5 hours, pay over the minimum wage, and unlimited free consultations with a doctor who visits the factory twice a week.

Teachers: un-brand your students - the Adbusters Media LIteracy KitAnd the shoes themselves? First of all, they look good, so you won't be sacrificing style here.

There are two styles, the Blackspot Sneaker and the Blackspot Boot. Designed by the Canadian designer John Fluevog (not known over here so much, but a big noise Stateside), they're made using 100 per cent organic hemp; the sneaker's rubber sole and toe cap are 70 per cent biodegradable, while the sole of the boot (the "Unswoosher" , as they call it - see what they're getting at?) is made from salvaged car tyres. The red marks and white "anti-logo" are hand painted, the soles are stitched, and it's all carefully checked by the UK's Robin Webb of Vegetarian Shoes to make sure everything complies with vegan standards.

If you buy them directly from Blackspot online, they cost from $100 (Canadian) including shipping, but there are four independent outlets in the UK selling them, too, which is probably an easier option. All profits (aside from any mark-up the independent retailers may put on them) go back into the campaigns of Adbusters, the not-for-profit organisation that came up with Blackspot. (Have a look at their magazine, too, it's worth a read).

Who says vegan shoes shops have bad names? Not a Brazilian tattooist with a nifty taste in music and some good looking contacts who uses Veganline as her sign-in name to the networking site. So far, no tattoos are shown.

British Athletes at the OlympicsPetitionsPMgovuk/Boycott-Olympics

British athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.


The Beijing Olympics were a vital milestone in China's re-emergence onto the world stage [sic]. Supporting China's re-engagement with the world is, we believe, firmly in our national interest. From global economic issues and international security, to climate change and development, it is vitally important for the UK that China acts as a responsible and active member of the international community. The Prime Minister had constructive discussion of these issues [no outcomes quoted] with the Chinese leadership during his recent visit to Beijing.

We continue to monitor the situation in Tibet and the surrounding region. We have expressed our concern regularly to the Chinese authorities, both in Beijing and London, and continue to urge them to respect fully the human rights of those detained; to avoid use of excessive force in dealing with unrest; and to respect freedom of expression and religion in Tibet . We have made clear our opposition to violence by protesters [sic]. We are working closely with our EU partners and others who share our concerns.

The Prime Minister spoke to President Hu Jintao and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to China for the Beijing Olympics, urging the Chinese government to address the underlying issues in Tibet. We consistently emphasise that the current political difficulties in Tibet can best be resolved through purposeful dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama.

We want China to use its considerable influence in Khartoum to play a constructive role on Darfur and implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The international community must act together to resolve the crisis in Darfur. The Chinese Special Envoy for Africa, Liu Guijin, agreed key objectives in Sudan with UK Ministers earlier this year: to accelerate the United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur deployment; re-energise the Darfur political process; and implement the 2005 North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which is indivisible from a solution to the Darfur crisis. As with other issues of common concern, we continue to engage regularly at all levels with the Chinese government on the problems in Sudan, whether at the UN, through the EU or bilaterally.

It is through a policy of engagement, not isolation, that we have the best chance of encouraging a responsible approach to such challenges. Therefore, we did not support calls to boycott the Beijing Olympics over any political issue.

  • Chinese authorities have closed free hospitals in major cities during the 1990s, preferring to invest large amounts of Chinese currency in other countries, depressing the price of Chinese currency and encouraging more Chinese exports.
  • The Chinese economy is potentially so much larger than others that suggestions of help, or influence by engagement in discussion, are simply suggestions. If you have anything you would like the Chinese government to do, send your answers on a post card to their government.

Trusted Ethical WebsiteEthical Products Organisation 10032008 is a small mail-order firm with shoe buying-skills. They don't own a shop or a factory, but have their shoes specially made out of expensive materials, or purchase them from companies who sell synthetic shoes already. is like most back room businesses, without PR staff, web designers or photographers. They are thrifty, wrapping up their shoes in old newspapers & printing addresses on the backs of bits of waste paper. Some of their carpets date from 1976, when patterns and shag pile beige were in fashion. Some of their power is generated with a solar panel on the roof. They do a lot of composting.

Like most home businesses they are low-margin and low-profile but this allows them to buy some of their vegan shoes expensively in the UK and Europe where wages are probably fifty times higher than the most audited and trumpeted Chinese factory.

The Vegan Newsletter for East Riding Vegans, No 34, February 2008

Veganline now have a range of Wellington and other style boots [...] suitable for vegans. See their website at for full details.

vote veganline at the ethical fashion awardsShoppers care more about animals than climate

  • Co-op conducts a massive survey of shoppers' ethics
  • New responsible retailing policy is based on results

Julia Finch, City editor February 04 2008 on p23 of the Financial section

Animal welfare and fair trade are far bigger concerns to UK consumers than climate change, according to a huge new poll of UK shoppers

Only 4% rate climate change as their top ethical priority, compared with 21% who think animal welfare is the most important issue and 14% who rate fair trade as their key concern

The findings come from a survey conducted by the Co-op grocery business that has been used to draw up a "responsible retailing" policy, designed to reflect shoppers' concerns

The Co-op claims the survey is the biggest poll of consumer ethics ever undertaken The supermarket group analysed responses to a detailed, four-page questionnaire from more than 100,000 members and customers It intends to use their responses to guide changes to the way it does business

As a result of the survey the Co-op is halting the sale and use of eggs from caged hens with immediate effect The 2,700-strong supermarket chain is also ensuring all its own-brand tea - including its 99 brand - becomes fair trade The customer-owned grocery business, which made all of its coffee fair trade five years ago, intends to absorb the extra costs so that prices do not go up

Three main categories emerged from the survey as the key areas of concern: ethical trading (27%), animal welfare (25%) and environmental impact (22%)

Shoppers' worries about the environment are focused on issues other than climate change Twice as many are concerned about the amount of packaging on their food as think global warming is the most important issue

As a result, the Co-op is changing the shape and weight of its 26 own-brand wine bottles to save 450m tonnes of glass a year It has also increased its list of prohibited pesticides from 32 to 98

Among those who believe ethical trading is the most important issue, 14% make fair trade their priority, with 8% supporting "general ethical trading" policies

Some 4% pinpointed animal testing as the ethical issue they believe is the most important facing consumers - the same proportion as want more attention paid to climate change Paul Monaghan, the Co-op's head of ethics, said the group believed that consumers' apparent indifference to climate change was likely to be the result of believing they have little influence to force change: "They may believe they are powerless on climate change People can choose to buy Fairtrade or Freedom Food labels, but there is no carbon label yet We think shoppers see climate change as an issue for corporations and governments"

Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said the organisation would not scale back its support for the global drive to reduce greenhouse emissions despite its members' seeming ambivalence to the issue He said they needed more information, adding: "Over the next decade we will work even harder to help customers understand the threat we face and the actions we can take"

The Co-op launched its vast consultation exercise last September It aimed to discover which issues meant most to its customers and to make it clear that some seemingly sensible changes had negative repercussions that it would not support The grocer pointed to the aeroplane stickers used on air-freighted exotic fruit and flowers by Marks & Spencer and Tesco and accused its rivals of "lazy thinking"

The Co-op said it would never introduce such stickers because they could have a detrimental effect on growers in less developed countries and the carbon produced by importing from African farmers can be a fraction of that produced by farmers in Europe because of the heating and lighting required

The Co-op has long been at the forefront of the ethical debate It was the first major retailer to champion fair trade, when it put Cafédirect coffee on its shelves in 1992, and introduced the UK's first fair trade bananas in 2000

In recent years, however, supermarket groups have increasingly been seeking to underline their credentials as planet-friendly businesses Marks & Spencer has set out a 100-point Plan A eco-strategy while Tesco has set out a "community plan" and has pledged to "become a leader in helping to create a low-carbon economy" Tesco is also leading an initiative to come up with a carbon-labelling scheme and last year announced £25m of funding for a new Sustainable Consumption Institute at Manchester University

Monaghan said the Co-op was now "raising the bar" with its ethics policy for a free members' telephone legal advice line
(note: several consumer co-operatives surveyed their members - this is United Co-Op Non-customers can join free)
(John Lewis and Waitrose more sensibly are staff Co-Ops)

0-discerning-brute.jpgThe Quest for Classic, Vegan Mens Shoes

Joshua Karcher | The Discerning Brute | 14 January 2008

The best vegan boot I've found is th Xcap.

The sole is not obnoxious, the faux-patent steel cap is clean and certainly badass - and best of all, this boot was featured in a porno flick, so it might just get you laid. This boot outdoes every other vegan combat-style boot I've seen. Oh, and its described as macho.

The Vegan magazine coverShoparound

Johanna Best & Verity Hunt-Sheppard, The Vegan, Winter 2007, p6

Veganline have some fantastic new boots to see you through the winter (or put them aside and show them off at summer festivals!) For Camo fans Veganline's Jungle Boots are just the ticket Inspired by posters advertising Camouflage Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London they feature a water resistant breathable top and Solovair soles which mould to and cushion your feet.

Their Xcap boot has an external steel toe cap and tough rubber sole. Made from breathable microfibre, these 10-hole lace-ups are said to keep you safe whatever vegan adventures you get up to

Both the Xcap and Jungle boots are made in the UK
Jungle Boot size 8-13 £64 + £4.50 postage
Xcasp size 6-13, £55 + £4.50 postage
"a great selection of breathable womens' winter boots"

Vogue magazine logoBamboo bras are the latest in eco chic, says style bible Vogue

Hannah Fletcher and Ed Hancox, The Times London, September 8, 2007

  • Quotes No Sweat hemp shoes at number 5 out of 30; Times introduction quoted below
  • Other papers report the story worldwide including the Daily Mail & Liverpool Confidential, which chooses No Sweat shoes for their photo.

They are for girls who want to go green while retaining a certain modish chic Vogue, the globes style bible, has provided its list of 30 tips on how to save the world while still managing to turn heads

The list of planet-friendly fashion ideas, which has been branded as eco chic, includes such delights as bamboo bras, compost-able lipsticks and eco-jeans There are even biodegradable surfboards

Controversially however, top of the magazines list is a bag designed by Lauren Bush, the 23-year-old niece of President George Bush, a man whose green credentials have, on occasion, been questioned Its perch at the top of the list follows the clamour from British shoppers earlier this year to get their hands on Anya Hindmarchs £5 I Am Not a Plastic Bag bag Now Vogue is tipping Ms Bushs $5995 (£30) Feed 2 Bag as the next hot alternative to plastic bags

Ms Bush designed the burlap and muslin bag, a luxury version of her original Feed Bag, for the United Nations World Food Programme It will go on sale in Harrods later this month The profit from the sale of one bag will feed two children for one year

It represents a small solution, one bag at a time, Ms Bush said

The list, which appears in the October issue of Vogue, also includes shops and small businesses that provide eco-friendly solutions to a fashionistas every need

One of the most prominent is so ahead of its time that it has not even opened yet Eco, which is being founded by actor Colin Firth and appears at number eight on the list, is described as a shop to fulfill all eco-home dreams

Evening Telegraph logo
Pete Austin, Evening Telegraph, Northamptonshire, 8 November 2007
Also in http://musiceinnewscom/ (subscribers only)
And http://calibremworldcom/m/mw?lp=GetStory&id=279678181

A SHOE manufacturer established in 1881 has come bang up to date by providing a chart-topping act with their footwear
NPS Shoes at Wollaston, which still uses some of the original machinery, has seen its skilled craftsmen provide shoes for indie-rock group  Hard-Fi

The company is one of a handful of shoe manufacturing firms making entire shoes, from the sheet of leather to the finished article

Although employing only 35 people, the company has created a market for its range of shoes, sold under its own brand Solovair, which are sold through agents in the UK and overseas

Mark Henson, who works in sales and marketing, said: "We produce traditional welted shoes and I believe we are the only business in the UK still using the heat sealing process

"We produce five ranges of our own shoes plus what we make for other people under their own brands We specialise in short bespoke runs as we are small enough to be flexible in what we produce"

Mr Henson once worked for a Finedon shoemaker which supplied Showaddywaddy with some footwear, and his latest feat has been to supply pairs of black and white brogues for a photo shoot with indie-rock group Hard-Fi

Mr Henson said: "Their agent had spotted a pair in a London shop and it went from there I am now negotiating with him to supply the group with shoes for their December tour, and as the agent also works with other bands I am actively pursuing more orders from the music world"

Once a co-operative, NPS Shoes is now privately owned, after being bought 18 months ago by an investor who wanted the tradition of hand-made shoes to continue in Wollaston

New ranges are now being introduced and Mr Henson is looking to recruit more skilled craftsmen, or younger people willing to learn the shoe-making trade, to keep up with demand

The zebra-stripe boots could be made because ordered some similar Jungle Boots at the same time, making-up a minimum order for the upper material, which has to be specially made from thinner sheets

green and ethically run UK web sites - vegan shoesEthical Directory: a screened directory of ethical and green web sites:
Non leather shoes A wide range, from the obviously green & fairtrade to shoes that are green because they contain no leather: the vegan society's "Eating the Planet" pdf explained (the link is to their current campaigns)

UK naked men logoPrison Break - soon to be released video

Xcap boot made in the UK, featured on UKnakedmen.comThe Film Prison Break will feature vegan Xcap boots. They are shown in photo 4 and will reach a new audience for vegan products Prison Break is produced by UKNakedmen : see their web site if you would like to model for them or simply order the video In frame, the figure on the left wears XCap Pornoboots while the figure on the right wears Walsh Raid fell running shoes, expected in stock next year

Inquiries so far from Poland, Prague and the USA

Sunday Times newspaper logoThe end of shopping?

Stephanie Theobald; p 18 The Sunday Times (London); April 1, 2007;

After an overkill of bling and bags, it was only a matter of time before flashing your cash started to look vulgar Stephanie Theobald reports on the lifestyle refuseniks who've had enough of conspicuous consumption

You can tell a lot about the state of a nation from its shopping habits In the 1980s, we were characterised by greedy power spending, while the blingfest 1990s will be remembered as an era when people believed that the brands they bought defined who they were No surprise, then, that in the compassionate nineties, the anti materialist backlash has begun

This decade may well be remembered as the one when our voracious appetite for buying suddenly started to look uncool[]

Kalle Lasn, the head of the Canada-based organisation Adbusters, which he describes as "a bunch of culture jammers fighting back against consumer culture", has been anticipating this consumer ennui for the past 15 years In 1992, he came up with Buy Nothing Day, a concept that was first taken up in Britain At the end of last year, groups in Manchester, Oxford and London performed a variety of prankster zaps, including entering shops and putting warning stickers on products such as "Put me down, I won't bring you happiness" and "Why bother? I'll be obsolete in six months"

Adbuster's own hemp boot made in fair working conditionsLasn says that there are three kinds of modern anti materialists: the greens, the reds and the blues The greens buy less for obvious reasons The reds are "radical political types who realise that the never-ending war on terror is about the gulf between the rich and the poor" Then there are the blues, who "might be on antidepressants, finally realise they are stressed out by hyperactive consumer culture and stop for their own self- preservation"

But are any of them having an effect? The answer is sort of Even if retail figures show no signs of slowing down, people are becoming more savvy about what they buy Even fashion insiders are starting to admit the outrageous spending that goes into keeping up appearances is, well, slightly vulgar Entre nous, they'll tell you they still favour the Chloé satchel bag that came out more than five seasons ago over the latest model []

Jungle boots were advertised on London Underground, so a small vegan shoe company has made them

Icon for the camouflage exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. The boot in the picture was a prototype made of Pittards printed leather;'s version is of course | Mon Sep 24 2007 [2 -] [3 -] [4 -] [5 -] [6 - SanePR] [7: PRWeb] [8 -] [9 - International Vegetarian Union News]

Millions of London commuters know the Imperial War Museum's posters of a camouflage Jungle boot They have been one of the main advertisers on London Underground for months, and show a camouflage ankle boot Up till now the boot has not been on sale

A small vegan shoe company - - has decided to get some made at one of the UK's few remaining boot factories and they will be on sale online from the end of the week

"They are trendy, they are made using fair employment, they promote local industry and they are good for the environment," says John Robertson of "that touches on all the trends in footwear just at the moment, as well as using some free advertising"

The Jungle boot saves the jungle as well as looking like it, according to recent reports that link over-farming with excessive demand for animal products

"It takes several times more land to feed and clothe a meat eater than a vegan", says John, "as well as generating extra methane and heat Cloth-top shoes are some of the most environmentally friendly ones you can get"

-- - environmental info - product info

Green People logoGreen People - directory listing updated September

Trevor: UK Naked men featureTrevor in boots and pants

Alicia's animal passion

Daily Star | 2007-09-21 | UK | page 10 (free log-in required for top link published previous day, illustrated)

HOLLYWOOD beauty Alicia Silverstone is flashing the flesh to get people to turn vegetarian

The Batman & Robin actress, 30, reckons her amazing curves are all down to her diet So she has peeled off for these sexy snaps in an effort to persuade burger-scoffing Americans to stop dining on animal flesh The poster campaign, funded by animal rights group PETA, features the slogan: Compassion is beautiful A steamy TV commercial is also being screened in the States, showing Alicia climbing naked from a pool The gorgeous star said she has never felt better since cutting animal products out of her diet:

Physically, the effect has been amazing Once I went vegan, I lost the weight I feel so much better and have so much more energy Here's hoping that PETA decides to show the steamy posters and telly advert in Britain, too And if the sight of Alicia cannot convince male meat-eaters to go veggie, nothing will

by IAIN BURCHELL, US Editor, in LA iainburchell at dailystar co uk [see other PETA releases]

Which? The magazine of the consumers association review our supplier's sandalsWhich?

Which Magazine

recycled denim sandal picturedenim sandals are "well made and reasonably priced" They were reviewed under one of the manufacturer's own brands - recycleyourjeans or hempathy


Daily Express logoWhy silence over going vegan to save the planet?

Daily Express  |  2007-09-17  |  UK  | Page: 49 -
free short excerpt from press display com

WHILE publications abound with green articles and carbon footprint is now a phrase everyone uses, it is bizarre that the chief cause of greenhouse gases is never spoken of in case it upsets people Namely that billions of cattle and other
Articles like this follow the UN "Livestock's Long Shadow" report, boosted by the Vegan Society's "Eating the Earth" campaign Columns like the same newspaper's William Hickey's coverage of two years earlier are becoming rare Even the Irish Independent, known to compare vegans with petty criminals and blame veganism for rickets now has some veggie articles alongside the old guard Maybe young journalists just can't afford meat

Peta Animal Times magazine coverBack-to-School Shoppers: Go Faux For Fall

PETA Launches Compassionate Fashion Day With Online Discounts for Fur-, Leather-, and Wool-Free Fashions

matte Rice, August 14, 2007 press officer 757-622-7382

Norfolk, Virginia - Just in time for the rush to buy back-to-school fashions, PETA has teamed up with some of the country's top names in cruelty-free shopping in order to mark August 18 as the first-ever Compassionate Fashion Day And as if saving animals' skins isn't enough of an incentive to avoid buying fashions and accessories made of fur, leather, and wool, the discounts and other perks that these fine companies are offering should do the trick As an added bonus, visitors to PETAorg who sign the pledge to "Go Faux for Fall" will automatically be entered in a contest to win one of two custom-made bags from hot retailer NY Artificial

Stylish jackets, toasty sweaters, and must-have handbags made of the finest faux fur, the supplest pleather, and itch-free acrylic and cotton are waiting to be snatched up by buyers who demand compassion in their fashions Several participating online outfitters--including Pangea, Fast & Furless, Veganline, Bello Iris, Alternative Outfitters, Tom Bihn, and more--are offering discounts of up to 10 percent while others are giving out free gifts or picking up the shipping charges for customers who mention PETA when ordering Links to each of these companies can be found at cruelty-free emporium PETA Mall com PETA will receive a percentage of the sales with no additional charge to customers who find each site through PETA Mall com

Everyone knows that fur is cruel, but what's wrong with leather and wool? For the animals who are mutilated, treated like unfeeling machines, and denied everything that is natural and important to them in animal factories and slaughterhouses, there's no difference between fur, leather, and wool All three cause great suffering that can be avoided simply by choosing from the many warm, durable, and fashionable alternatives to animal-based "fabrics"

"With all the luxurious faux and synthetic alternatives available, it's easier than ever to find to-die-for fashions and accessories that animals didn't have to suffer or die for," says PETA's resident fashionista, Patricia Trostle

For more information and to take the pledge, please visit PETAorg

Times Newspaper logoThe Antipreneurs

Anna Shepard; p 41 The Times, London June 6, 2007

The term was first coined back in 1989 by Adbusters, Adbuster's own hemp boot made in fair working conditionsa global network of activists intent on toppling the big brands through "culture jamming". To give Nike a kick, they launched Blackspot trainers , and every November they encourage people to support Buy Nothing Day, keeping their money in their wallets for 24 hours. Sceptics argue that the more affluent among us have always sought out alternatives, rejecting mainstream brands In a 2005 book called The Rebel Sell, Canadian academics Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter argued that the counterculture had always been at the heart of consumer culture: tap into people's sense that they're different and set apart, and you shift product. Maybe, but if it means a more ethical way of doing business, then who's carping? In the new order of things, it's not what you do but how you do it that counts.

reduce reuse recycle: resource cumbria logoExhibitors at the Recycle for Cumbria Recycling Road shows May to June 2007

Becki Train | Events Northern Ltd for Cumbria County Council | Recycle for Cumbria p15
Unswooshers are organic canvas boots with a recycled racing tyre sole This boot was designed as an alternative to American corporate fashions, in style and manufacture The Canadian magazine Adbusters began producing these after people began writing their own logos in felt pen over the ubiquitous advertised ones Now the shoes are being sold to encourage the same movement, and have a big white blob on the side where you can draw whatever logo you like!

The organic canvas is unusual in being made of hemp fibre, rather than the usual cotton Hemp grows almost as a weed and is much easier to grow organically than cotton, but has only been re-introduced recently, despite a long tradition of growing hemp for naval ropes, after a post-war ban that was introduced by mistake Now you still need a licence to grow hemp, but some firms such as Mother Hemp and Hemcore are growing it in the UK This canvas was grown in Romania where there is still a live tradition of Unswoosher hemp boot picturemaking it and machinery for turning it into cloth is more readily available

The soles are 100% re-used as well as re-cycled Made of racing tyres, there is no wire re-enforcement in this rubber and it's possible to use a swing beam press and a cutting blade to make rough shoe sole shapes that are then glued to the bottom of the rest of the shoe and ground down to a smooth edge
Ankle Boot
Everyday footwear with a fashion interest 25% of raw materials by value, more by weight £6450 to buy mail-order, including postage Contact: (UK retailer who supplied the sample)

The Environment Site logoNew Life For Old Jeans As Eco Sandals

Theenvironmentsiteorg Tuesday April 17, 2007

I don't know how many people who post on here live in London but out of those who do did any of you see this article in the Metro recycled denim sandal picturethis morning? [] A few little facts of interest from their website:

  • Recycling textiles saves on pesticides, fertilisers, processing chemicals and energy
  • If every person in the UK used one item of recycled clothing per year, the amount of processing water saved would fill an average UK reservoir
  • Kalahari sandals have the lowest transport footprint of any sandal on the market because they are made in the UK, not 5,000 miles away as 99% of the footwear on sale in the UK is

Metro newspaper logoJeans that turn into eco-friendly sandals

Staff reporter, Metro News April 16, 2007

Instead of throwing your old pair of jeans into the bin you can now turn them into eco-friendly sandals

Shoemaker Mike Stables came up with idea when the last Clarks factory closed down in Britain late last year He snapped up the factory's canvas shoe-making equipment, hired some of its workers and set up recycleyourjeanscom

After signing up at the site and paying £45, you are sent a prepaid envelope to pack your (preferably washed) jeans and dispatch them to the Softwalker factory

A week or so later a pair of Kalahari brand sandals 'guaranteed made from your own jeans' arrives in the post

The material from your old faithfuls goes into making the base of the shoe and the wraparound section while the soles are polyurethane

Recycling textiles saves on pesticides, fertilisers, energy and water, claims the family-run business in Askam-in Furness, Cumbria

recycled denim sandal pictureMr Stables said: 'If every person in the UK recycled just one item of clothing each year the amount of processing water saved would fill an average reservoir' stock the ready-made blue jeans version

Ethical dilemma

DR ROBERT MCKAY, The Independent (London); Jul 18, 2006

Sir: I am dismayed by the invisibility of animal issues in so- called ethical reporting in the media ("50 Best Ethical Buys", 15 July) Increasingly, it seems, "organic" is the synonym for ethical' alternatives such as "vegan" don't get a look in. Of 50 best "ethical" buys not one was notably chosen from the standpoint of avoiding animal abuse: you overlooked excellent vegan products available from Green and Black's and Co-op wines, and promoted suede while neglecting wonderful companies like []


See "shoppers care more about animals" survey of co-op members above


Livestock's Long Shadow coverLivestock's Long Shadow

H Steinfeld, P Gerber, T Wassenaar, V Castel, M Rosales, C de Haan, 390p

Food and Agriculture office of the United Nations (FAO) and sponsoring governments

Summary: This report aims to assess the full impact of the livestock sector on environmental problems, along with potential technical and policy approaches to mitigation The assessment is based on the most recent and complete data available, taking into account direct impacts, along with the impacts of feed crop agriculture required for livestock production

The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of bio diversity

Livestocks contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and its potential contribution to their solution is equally large The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency Major reductions in impact could be achieved at reasonable cost

Until this report, most vegans were interested in saving animal cruelty and most greens were interested in saving pollution; now green & vegan seem much the same thing - even if you can't put most vegan shoes in your compost bin

Red Pepper magazine logoShopping without cruelty

Fiona Osler Red Pepper magazine April 2006

"Shoes to die for: It's not only the fur trade where animals die for fashion Angora rabbits object strongly to being shorn, often dying in the process Sheep suffer pain and stress and leather is not a by-product of the meat industry but an industry all of its own Cruelty-free shoes and trainers have come a long way from sweaty, naff plastic see [...] vegan and sweatshop-free trainers at"

The Times Newspaper logoHot economic trends

David Rowan; p 12  (London); Feb 25, 2006; © Times Newspapers Ltd

Do you seriously want to be rich? Sorry, but you're wasting your time if you thought this skinflint column could help The best we can do is introduce you to a few buzzwords that seem right on the money whenever some of our sharpest economists meet to exchange blackspot-unswoosher.jpgideas Spout a few of these notions when you're next trying to impress a date, and we guarantee you'll be left feeling like a million dollars

[]Antipreneurism: Fashionable consumerism for those who reject corporations as evil Following on from Naomi Klein's observations about the "no-logo" generation, Antipreneurs favour their own DIY challenges to the big brands, as exemplified in the "culture-jamming" of activist groups such as Adbusters Its " Blackspot " sweatshop-free sneakers sought to challenge Nike, and its supporters discuss everything from brand-less radio stations to vodka []

david rowan at the times dot co-uk

The Most Ethical Shoe Store in the World

The Blackspot Anticorporation was set up by media activists Adbusters to provide a shoe for consumers seeking an alternative to corporate brands like Nike. Blackspot’s latest design, the Unswoosher, has just been launched in the UK.

Adbusters Magazine, Canada, June 2005

launches the second of their hemp-top European-made sneakers, the Blackspot , this one designed by John Fluevog of Canada

William Hickey Column

Daily Express logoWilliam Hickey | The Express | 19 April 2005

CAUGHT unawares in a "green" deli by some vegan fanatics, who recognise Hickey and threaten to expose my identity, I agree to give them a mention of, a "superlative" (their word, not mine) range of animal-free footwear

bouncing-boot7.jpgThese sensible shoes are in unique (I'll say) styles and most of them have springy, bouncy soles (with what in mind, I shudder to think) I was particularly drawn to the Bouncing Boot , elegantly pictured, which, I assume, is favoured by wimmin with a certain sexual predilection in Edinburgh

see the same tabloid's vegan editorial two years later

Red Pepper magazine logoResolutionary Politics:
Buy Nothing Christmas

Fiona Osler | Red Pepper Magazine, December / January 2006: Clothes swapping, car sharing and joining a green gym Fiona Osler offers some planet-saving alternatives to the usual New Years resolutions

Buy Nothing Day logoStart your New Years resolutions early and give up presents for Christmas The Buy Nothing Christmas website from Adbusters includes tips and hints to get through the seasonal consumerfest without spending a penny Try out the downloadable gift exemption vouchers at www.Adbustersorg promoted "Buy Nothing Day" on the front page of its web site for two days, as well as selling Adbusters' own Unswoosher boots which have space for you to draw your own brand

0-greenguide.gifGreen Guide: the directory for planet-friendly living

Vegan shoes, boots, belts and wallets, some of them made in British factories specially for Current stock includes goodyear-welted cushion-sole boots, hemp unswoosher boots, in unisex and feminine styles The site includes a vegetarian recipe search engine

logo-neil-beaver-cool-world.jpg Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Neil Beaver Blog December 15, 2004 is an excellent resource for tracking down good quality, well-priced and ethically sourced shoes, boots, slippers, belts, wallets and recipes

One of the things I love about this site is that it gives you relevant information in language you can understand, instead of fancy names for fancy innovations that don't necessarily mean anything Their 'about us' page is a particularly interesting read The fair labour policy is a little vague, I feel, but commendable all the same

This is a site that focuses on the products and the processes that bring them to you Its lack of sales pitch is highly refreshing

guide to compassionate shopping: enamel badge designsShopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing

Peta org's guide to cruelty-free clothes lists

The Herald logoA curse on all brands: The Blackspot sneaker is determined to give global giants Nike a kicking

Jennifer Cunningham  | The Herald - Glasgow (UK)
logo-blackspot.jpgDate: Sep 29, 2004 early edition

The black spot, the mysterious but certain agent of death, used to dramatic effect by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island, had a lasting effect on the imagination of Kalle Lasn, founder of Adbusters 14 years ago Recognising that in restricting himself to campaigning he is increasingly in danger of preaching to the converted, he is now manufacturing Blackspot sneakers, the caring consumer's answer to the global branding and manufacturing which depends on low wages, and it's personal He is targeting Phil Knight, head of Nike

Lasn already has a rival No Sweat sneakers are also canvas shoes manufactured to Fair Trade standards Adam Neiman, president and co- founder of  No Sweat Apparel in Massachusetts, was already manufacturing leisure clothing with a guarantee that it was "100% union-made" He was intrigued by Lasn's plan to produce trainers to shame Nike and saw an opportunity to join the subscribers to Adbusters magazine with the supporters of workers' rights who bought his clothes He offered his production expertise in exchange for Lasn's promotional skills

Lasn preferred to go it alone The result is that No Sweat and Blackspot shoes are now in direct competition for the sizable market of people who favoured Converse trainers until they were taken over by Nike

Guardian article quotes Veganline as a best buy for ethical clothingDo try this at home: where to buy ethical clothing

Leo Hickman | The Guardian (Manchester); October 7, 2004; p 11 - G2 section
Ethical Consumer magazine (www.ethicalconsumerorg, tel 0161-226 2929) rates companies across a wide range of ethical criteria, including environmental record, attitudes towards workers' rights, investment in GM technology and political lobbying When clothing was last covered in the magazine [] Best buys for shoes included Veganline (

logo-briarpatch.gifNichole Huck | July 1, 2004| Briar patch

If the shoe fits, order it today: can radical anti-advertising group Adbusters find ways to go toe-to-toe against their mega-corp competition in the promotion of a new shoe designed to kick Nike's ass?

"Phil Knight had a dream He'd sell shoes He'd sell dreams He'd get rich He'd use sweatshops if he had to Then along came a new shoe Plain Simple Fair Designed for only one thing: kicking Phil's Ass"

This controversial text will soon be plastered on billboards and in newspapers across North America The ads are for a new shoe and feature a picture of a black sneaker with a white, hand-drawn scribble on the side and a red dot on the front (for kicking Phil Knight's ass) They urge the reader to "rethink the cool"

The shoe, known as the "unswoosher" or the "black spot sneaker" is the brainchild of "culture jamming" Adbusters media foundation Adbusters is

ethical consumer magazine coverBuyer's Guide - Best Buylogo-best_buy.gif

Ethical Consumer Buyer's Guides
Buyers' Guide monthly feature, 2004 This month: clothes & clothes shops, covering all the high street chains with a sectionethiscore: an ethical consumer magazine directory on ethical alternatives The report is available online to Ethiscore subscribers More recent issues have weighted factors like recycled laces as being more important than whether a shoe is sourced in China Given the difficulty sourcing any shoes at all in countries like the UK, the newer lists include more of small efforts by big brands The list published February 2007 begins "High profile campaigns have forced many of the major sports brands to improve the way they do business when it comes to workers rights Ruth Rosselson asks whether this is enough"

Green Consumer: Veganline is second on the list for "mostly sensible shoes"Green Consumer

Dominic Murphy, p69 The Guardian; May 22, 2004
Mentioned as second on the list for "mostly sensible shoes"in the Guardian weekend "Green Consumer" section The article quotes vegan shoes as less green than leather ones

Ian Aitch, The IndependentKicking Against the System

Ian Aitch | The Independent | December 15, 2003

The journal of choice for the anti-globalisation movement, Adbusters, has been sniping at the corporate world since way back in the Eighties On its pages you'll find subtly defaced versions of ads for well-known brands and photographs of vandalised billboards

But the publication has now gone one step further, moving from words and pictures to a far more direct form of confrontation Kalle Lasn, Adbusters' founder and a man usually more at home in sandals than trainers, says his magazine's plan is to take on the global sportswear giant Nike at its own game by manufacturing a sneaker to rival one of the corporation's most popular brands
the rest of this story to be added later

Guardian newspaper logoIs there life after leather?

Simon Chilvers | The Guardian Friday October 17, 2003
Can you be a serious vegetarian - and seriously fashionable at the same time? Simon Chilvers investigates

Atom, author of the Music for Torching blog, imagines himself on drugsMusic for Torching - blog April 16 2003
A pair of cool shoes arrived today from Veganline. Thank you, Oh internet god and postal elves & vegan shoe-making goblins.

Music for Torching - blog April 15 2003
Bought some shoes from Ethical Wares and Veganline. Why is it so hard to buy shoes that fit?

The Green Guide Product Report: Shoes

Carmela Federico | National Geographic, December 31st 2002
National Geographic Magazine logoFor those concerned about using animal products and who wish to avoid leather, vegan shoes (made without leather or other animal products) are an option Web vendors include (

The Herald newspaper logoReady, steady, go

Beth Pearson, Fabienne Collignon; p 8 The Herald (Glasgow); Aug 3, 2002;

(© Scottish Media Newspapers, Ltd and Scottish Media Publishing Limited Aug 3, 2002; single article quoted as fair use)

CONSIDERING that there are about four million vegetarians and 125 million vegans in the UK and the numbers are constantly growing, there's a need for quality, leather-free alternatives to sport shoes

Brands such as Dr Martens and Birkenstock (yes, they make more than just hippy sandals) have been using polyurethane, ethyl vinyl acetate and other synthetic materials for some time, but, unfortunately, shoes like these aren't exactly available on every street corner We've found that the best way to track them down is through a few useful UK-based web sites

Visit and you'll find that they list a whole range of shops, virtual and otherwise, that stock non-leather shoes These cater for all active lifestyles, with ranges of outdoor boots, athletic shoes and trainers

www. offers a "white safety trainer", which is described as "a hard-wearing, non-leather shoe with a trainer look that isn't from the Far East" but it actually looks like it's destined to be shipped off en masse to catering companies

Practical, but boring and androgynous, this trainer is not for the fashion-conscious For £60, one would at least like to wear something that looks like it could be from this decade []Time Out magazine logo

For an answer see /info/ask#16


Animal Contacts Directory - cover photo - "networking for humans, animals, and the environment"Time Out | 22 July 1998
recommends the unique Bouncing Boot in their shopping section leading to a rush of catalogue requests We don't have catalogues but do our best

Animal Contacts Directory

May 1998, published by Veggies Catering Campaign in print and online

Five Star Rating: "cheap PVC jackets by post. Also sells socks, T shirts, canvas shoes and shoe glue"[other vegan links]

The Vegetarian Journal magazine coverVegetarian Journal, May 1998: Shoppers' Guide To Leather Alternatives
Vegetarian Resource Group, USA

Animal Free Shopper (UK) directory cover artAnimal Free Shopper listed in the printed editions from 1998

7.5.1998 - first surviving web site experiment
This already includes old stock bought from Luxury Without Leather and T'arus, the mail order company that had a stall on Portobello Road. The excellent specially made Bouncing Boots (Tredair branded) muck-in with an embarrassingly bad web site and curious other stock

1.1.1998 - first bank account