Tuesday 9 February 2016

Anaïs Gallagher and PETA Launch Cruelty-Free Sneaker Drive

There's a real trend towards cruelty-free fashion at the moment, sparked by leading lights like Stella McCartney and the work of activist groups like PETA. This isn't so surprising when you look at the poor environmental record of the leather industry. Toxins from tanneries are known to pollute local water supplies. Then there's the cruelty inherent in the industry. When a recent PETA campaign exposed a thriving trade in China that exports dog leather under the guise of other hides, it's not surprising that people are looking for animal-free alternatives.

Now everyone has a chance to get in on the action. Leading vegan shoe label Bourgeois Boheme, in association with PETA, are launching a search for the best new animal-free unisex sneaker. The competition is open to anyone with a passion for cruelty-free fashion. Bourgeois Boheme will shortlist the top 10. Celebrity judge and teen model Anaïs Gallagher will then choose the winning design, which will go into production and hit the market in time for autumn/winter 2016.

Anaïs says:

"I love fashion and I love animals – so this competition is a win-win. I'm happy to join PETA in celebrating new designers who are leading the way in cruelty-free fashion and cannot wait to strut around town in the winning pair of shoes!"

Modern, high quality synthetics, canvas and even quirky materials like banana and pineapple leather have a much better environmental score than leather (although we should note that the longevity of animal hide does add to its sustainability - if you must, make sure the items use properly sourced and responsibly gathered materials). If you'd rather your kicks didn't involve cruelty, then there are an increasing number of options. It's good to see Bourgeois Boheme opening the discussion to a wider audience. Brands like Stella McCartney, H&M, ASOS and of course Vivienne Westwood already offer cruelty-free bags, purses, belts and shoes. Let's see more like that on the high street.

The competition is open until March 7th, so there's still time to get your designs in. Visit PETA.org.uk for more details.

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