Keds & Matt & Nat
And Keds, in general, has is a mainly animal-derivative-free line. They're very lightweight and comfy casual shoes. And Ellen DeGeneres likes them. a lot [I mean the sneakers]. But of course there are non-sneakers like this skimmer sold on www.keds.com:
Also, nanette lepore + keds coming in February...[photo from december/jan issue of teen vogue] [I actually don't find them too amazing but I do like the blue-striped one]
Also, I stumbled upon a nice jewel of a line called Matt & Nat one day when my mom forced me to go to Home Goods with her and the only thing next door was a TJ Maxx. I was looking through the bags and this really nice lavender-purple bag caught my eye and it's actually not available on their site which is pretty sad...it must be an earlier design. Anyhow, because it was TJ Maxx, the few bags I saw from them were discounted down to like $15/$30 and now I'm kind of regretting not getting that bag considering the prices on their site are in the hundreds. It's a Montreal-based company formed by a designer named Inder Bedi- and each bag normally has their philosophy stamped somewhere on it, which is kind of cool [find out more about it at www.mattandnat.com].
[photo from www.mattandnat.com]
Anyway there's a reason I'm talking about this totally random line besides the fact that they have nice designs. What was really surprising to me was that it's a vegan line. And, I must point out, proudly vegan. I mean, you've got to appreciate it.
They're very upfront and frank in their online FAQs:
Under the question, "Why Have a Vegan Line?":
"A vegan line is a collection that does not use any products derived from animal (such as leather, fur, or wool). Being cruelty-free is an integral part of matt & nat, a choice based on the premise that every living being should be treated with kindness and dignity.
Under the question, "Where are our bags made?"
"...The production of the line is based in China, where we travel on a regular basis to ensure that employees have adequate working conditions and that there is no child labor in the factories that we employ."
Under "leather vs. synthetic leather" [and I think they did a really good job with laying out the facts of both sides, not just presenting their own philosophy]:
"Turning animal hides into leather is an energy intensive and polluting practice. The tanning process is highly toxic and renders leather non biodegradable. Factory farming also has devastating effects on the environment. Farm animals produce huge amounts of waste which seeps into the ground and surface water. In addition, the intense clearing of forests for grazing has heightened desertification throughout the world. Although not ideal environmentally, synthetic leather is less detrimental to the environment when the overall process of producing leather is taken into account."
So you see, for some, it can help at times to keep in mind all aspects of leather vs. synthetic leather into account, not just any one. Matt & Nat also received the 2005 proggy award [the peta progress awards] for the best cruelty-free handbag collection. Speaking of, the newest proggy awards came out recently and it can be checked out here.
[photo 1, photo 2]
Matt & Nat is also listed on this page from the summer issue of Elle Canada magazine-- click to expand-- I'm surprised at how many vegan bags are on this page- only two are actually leather [the liz clairborne is cute].
[photo from mattandnat.com]