As we launch our latest and largest vegan collection, transparancy around our ethical and sustainable business practices are always top of mind.
So, why do we make vegan shoes and what makes them so radical?
As a qualified Yoga Instructor and regular practioner it is fair to say that yoga has laid a very important foundation for me in the evolution of the Radical Yes brand. It is not all we are about but it is a massive inspiration from both a design and lifestyle point of view. It is the reason we only make flat shoes (because as every Yogi knows heels will shorten your hamstrings and wreck your back)!
Let me be up front, I am not a vegan but having learnt more about the philosophy of AHIMSA or 'non-violence' through the practice, I felt a compelling relevance in creating products for people who choose to be animal free. I also have many friends who are vegan and choose animal free as a way of life.
So we continue to include an ever growing range of products as an alternative for the many people who have told us that they love our brand but would prefer a non-leather product.
In terms of the design process this season we specifically choose to work with nylon. While originally being unsure of its biodegradability, we did further research and found that inspiring brands such as Patagonia and Katmandu use nylon for it's ability to be recycled.
Most importantly the use of Nylon in our new vegan products range means we have created a product that is highly durable, machine washable and would be able to meet our now enduring design objective of creating products that will be used at least 30 times or more.
Which leads us to…
THE IMPORTANT STORY BEHIND OUR MAKE
We have a strong and long-standing relationship with our manufacturing partner having known and worked together for over 9 years.
We visit our maker in China at least four times a year and have first hand knowledge of the integrity of his business and business practices. As an added assurance we also receive annual audit reporting which is conducted by a third party and looks into the working conditions of the factory. The audit covers aspects such as OH&S, Environmental Waste Management, Working Hours and Minimum Wage compliance and is conducted by the Foregin Trade Association as part of their ‘Business Social Compliance Initative’.
We produce all of our shoes in Shenzhen which is based just over the border of Hong Kong in Southern China. Having developed product in many parts of China throughout my 15 year career in the industry, it is my opinion that working conditions in Shenzhen are amongst some of the best in China as skilled workers are in high demand and so are able to command better salaries and conditions. The standard of living in Shenzhen is very modern. The proximity to Hong Kong and its vibrant influence is evident in the attitudes and lifestyle of the people we work closely with to produce our ranges.
Our materials are sourced about 140KM north of Shenzhen in a province called Guangzhou. We source materials from Guangzhou because they are of a higher standard and quality than those found in the local market in Shenzhen. Whilst there is a greater breadth of choice, being an open market it can be difficult to confirm the source trail of materials however this is the trade off we have to make in producing our very small order quantities of usually around 60 pairs or less. It is our goal as the business grows to eventually be able to afford made-to-order specified materials where we can be more assured of the supply chain.
You can see and read more about our production partner here.
Be assured that like you, we ask questions, we are curious and we care about the ethics of our products. If there is something specific you would like to know please email us firstname.lastname@example.org. If we don’t know the answer we will do our best to find out for you.
Thank you for your interest and support of our brand.