Vegan designer Sean Wotherspoon has teamed up with American clothing brand Guess to launch cruelty-free sneakers.
YouTube star and Round Two co-founder Wotherspoon has been teasing the upcoming vegan shoe creation online. Writing on Instagram to his 877,000 followers, Wotherspoon said, “Experimenting with different types of mesh for my vegan [Guess sneakers.]”
“Layered mesh, tons of purples, and 3M! Lots of changes to be made but I’m hyped on this sample!” he said.
In 2018, Wotherspoon collaborated with Nike to produce the vegan-friendly Air Max 1/97. The design “quickly became one of the most popular sneakers of that year,” according to Highsnobiety.
The partnership came about after Nike held a competition whereby people submitted their design ideas and the public voted on their favorite. Wotherspoon won and created the shoe that combines his passion for ’80s culture, vintage corduroy caps, Virginia and LA, and his go-to sneakers, the Air Max 1 and the Air Max 97.
More people are ditching their animal-derived footwear in favor of vegan shoes for ethical and environmental reasons. The production of leather, commonly used to make footwear, is known for its cruel treatment of cows, in particular. Producing the material also leaves a mark on the planet due to “highly toxic” chemicals that are used in the tanning process.
The switch toward vegan shoes could prove beneficial in other ways, too; cruelty-free footwear is said to last longer and perform better than leather, according to experts.
As more people step toward vegan products, companies are keen to keep up. Last month, multinational fashion retailer Topshop launched its first vegan shoe collection. The 12-piece footwear line features six styles – including high heels, mules, and sandals – in neutral colours like black, white, tan, and blush.
Designers are getting creative within the vegan footwear scene. Ethical footwear brand Po-Zu sells Star Wars-themed vegan sneakers, flats, runners, and winter boots. Its recent Rey and Kylo Ren sneakers are made with natural latex and coconut husk.
Brazilian brand Insecta creates eco-friendly, vegan footwear out of recycled materials like plastic bottles and vintage clothing. Adidas has used plastic pulled from the ocean to make its own vegan shoes.