TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR CRAFT?
“I’ve worked in communications and media for the past 10 years and have recently decided to become a slashie. PR/Footwear Designer. I relocated to Sydney from Mackay, North Queensland to work in the fashion industry, however, I’ve always had a huge love for animals, going vegetarian at 14 and more recently vegan.
I’d always loved the thought of combining my career with my love for animals by creating an ethical business. When I met my fiancé, Ed, he loved the idea of starting a business together and gave me the confidence to start edie. The brand is all about creating timeless, classic, ethical footwear that sits alongside like-minded leather brands seamlessly. We hope to show how incredible the industry has come in terms of quality and environmental impact, whilst ensuring our pieces last and are worn for years to come.”
WHAT WAS THE CATALYST FOR CREATING EDIE COLLECTIVE?
“Besides having the most limited shoe options for the past 9 years, I personally felt quite stagnant in the change I was making and being such a big animal lover I wanted to do more in that field. When COVID began Ed my partner and I were on reduced hours and had a lot of spare time to reflect on our long-term goals. We could either force my housemates to have yet another homemade pasta night or I could put my spare time to good use and kickstart a vegan footwear label!”
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT DURING YOUR CRUELTY-FREE AND SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY?
“There are so many different challenges that come with the territory, however, my two biggest lessons would have to stay true to your beliefs. Being passionate about a polarising topic can put you in a lot of uncomfortable conversations and it’s really important to carry those with grace and compassion. People are always taught to shy away from politics however change can’t be made by being silent. It’s so important to engage in thought-provoking conversations with your family and friends. Education is key and you will be surprised how many people are open to educating themselves on the changes they can personally make to do better in this world.
And secondly - you can’t make a true difference without being inconvenienced. It’s not easy being vegan, it’s not easy reducing and avoiding plastics, and it’s not easy shopping ethically, but it’s absolutely imperative to change the current trajectory. We’ve gotten so complacent in an easy life but at the absolute detriment of the earth.
Take a keep cup and if you’ve forgotten it asks for no lid. Carry your dinner groceries home instead of taking yet another reusable bag, rinse and recycle properly. If everyone made one small change, it makes a huge impact.”
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS EDIE COLLECTIVE NAVIGATES USING MATERIALS THAT ARE LESS HARMFUL TO ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT?
“Being as environmentally conscious as possible was such an important focus for the brand. Whilst developing and producing our first collection we really focused on ensuring our materials were as environmentally friendly as the brand could be. There are so many incredible new materials and technologies coming onto the market, however, it’s really important to understand what suits the product you are developing in terms of wear and longevity. There is no use having a shoe made of all the newest ‘vegan material’ if it’s going to fall apart in 6 months.
That being said we had no knowledge of shoemaking when diving into this venture so we really needed to trust the experts. We made sure we asked as many questions as we could, researched all options, ensured all materials across the product and packaging had up-to-date certifications the factory was able to share as well as sourced our own elements such as biodegradable country of original stickers.
It’s really hard to say any brand is ‘sustainable’ in an oversaturated market, however being first and foremost an animal-friendly brand, we feel proud to say that edie will hopefully help make an ethical difference in the world and will contribute to reducing the demand for animal leather.”
THERE ARE PLENTY OF SYNERGIES BETWEEN EDIE COLLECTIVE AND BIANCA SPENDER. CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH THESE?
“I’ve worked in the fashion industry for many years and I have always admired Bianca’s commitment to the environment and slow fashion. I knew the brand worked with cruelty-free leather alternatives and this aligned perfectly with edie’s own ethos. I think it’s really important that we come together as an industry to be the change we want to see.”
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT LEATHER ALTERNATIVES? CAN YOU DEBUNK THESE FOR US?
“I think the main misconception of vegan leather is that it is seen as ‘plastic’ shoes usually associated with fast fashion or of low quality. Although some vegan leather alternatives are polyurethane based the industry itself is utilising plastics destined for landfill to repurpose into incredible materials.
There is so much plastic waste thought the world, wreaking havoc on the environment and although recycling is not the solution - reducing consumption is - repurposing landfill into new product is a really incredible way to reduce this issue.
Further to this, new developments within the industry see incredible alternatives available that offer on average a 30%+ lower environmental impact in terms of water consumption and eutrophication. As well as having amazing wear resistance, acid and alkali resistance, being breathable, washable, antibacterial, and anti-odour.”
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS OUR COMMUNITY CAN DO TO LESSEN THEIR IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT THIS EARTH DAY?
“There are so many easy ways to contribute to a better future for all. Simple steps such as ensuring your super, banks and energy providers are ethical and green. Swapping your plastic vegetable/fruit bags to the mushroom bags, saying no to coffee lids when you forget your keep cups, recycle properly and shop cruelty-free.
Have hard conversations with those around you. Discuss climate change, ethics and government policies.
Educate yourself on these issues, listen to podcasts, follow social media accounts that share information on the environment, do your own research and attend rallies and protests about topics that align with your values.”
YOUR DESIGNS ARE DESIGNS AND CREATED TO BE TIMELESS AND TO LAST. WHAT ARE SOME WAYS OUR COMMUNITY CAN MAKE MINDFUL, CONSCIOUS DECISIONS WHEN BUILDING THEIR WARDROBES?
“This is something I have really tried to personally improve on over the years. It’s important to understand your style DNA and shop for what you already have, not necessarily what you ‘want’.
Next time you’re at a sample sale reflect on what you already own and how that piece can be styled into your wardrobe. Ask yourself - will I wear this for the next 5-10 years?
As well as shopping second hand and hiring. There are so many amazing resell/hire platforms these days.
I try to remind myself that with less demand comes less supply. Consumers shape the world and if we change the way we shop companies will listen and follow suit.”
TALK US THROUGH SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PIECES FROM OUR AUTUMN WINTER COLLECTION?
“The Autumn/Winter collection was, as always, classic with a twist! I am a huge fan of a suit so the olive suit with the drawstrings is so special. You can wear it in multiple ways pending on the occasion and your mood.
I also love anything mini - so the golden mini dress and the black top version are must-haves. You can dress them up for a special occasion or wear them out to lunch with a sandal. Definitely, pieces I see myself wearing for years to come.”
HOW ARE YOU WEARING YOUR EDIE SHOES WITH BIANCA SPENDER PIECES FOR THE COOLER MONTHS?
“I love an ankle boot, I think it’s such a must have wardrobe essential. Pairing the Original boot with the Bijou Mini Dress for a fun party look, for a cooler evening add some light denier stockings and the Henri Trench Coat.”