Believe it or not, I was a vegan for a period of time in the last century. Back then, it was really different than it is today, with all the amazing advances in vegan technology… back then finding shoes was always tough. I remember wearing Converse. A lot. While I still crave me a a pair of Converse low tops and a macro plate, I’m also amazed in how vegan fashion has evolved.
One day Greta walked in the office rocking these amazing shoes, when she told me they were vegan, designed by Cri de Coeur, I instantly knew that this was something to share with you here on The Coveted. So Jessica and Nando headed on up to visit them (I was out of town, woops!) at their studio to get a closer look and have a chat about ethical footwear, the perfect topic for Earth Day!
The Coveted: How did Cri de Coeur Ethical Footware start?
Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow: We launched in 2008 and it kind of came about because I was a vegetarian and really into fashion and one of the hardest things to find that were still fashionable was vegan shoes. A lot of what was out their at the time was pretty hippie oriented…. There was a huge hole in the market at that point so we wanted to change that.
What are some of the materials you use to create more fashionable vegan shoes?
Back then it was harder. There wasn’t a lot available. So, we used some cotton canvas, hemp canvas and faux leathers to start, but since then we discovered all these amazing fabrics like eco friendly polyurethanes and anything non toxic is really what we go for. No PBC, no vinyl. There’s so many more options now as far as recycled and eco friendly fabrics go.
Where can we buy Cri de Coeur?
We have e-commerce ourselves. We also sell on endless.com and a lot of boutiques nationally. Stores like Kaite’s shop in NYC, Free People and Anthropologie sell our creations. (full list on their site)
What are your current design inspirations for the current FW 2011/ 2012 season?
We have two different lines. We have the higher end line and the lower price points. The lower price points (aka Hearts of Darkness), we were inspired by the 90s grunge girl and the higher end line we went for a more futuristic, architectural fashion forward kind of idea.
Lower price pts - $100 - 160
Higher price pts - $500 and under
When you’re looking for design inspiration, where do you find it?
We pretty much gravitate towards anything that’s artistic – music, arts, what’s happening and other eras, but it depends. It could be online, but it’s pretty much a collection of different inspirations that we tone it down to a few things then we research it heavily.
But each season is a little different…. Photography is a huge inspiration. We scour a lot of the avant garde fashion magazines like Lula is our favorite.
How would you describe your personal styles?
Overall going vegan was a personal decision and the last thing to go vegan was the clothes. The two of us come to work wearing the same thing sometimes. We’re kind of drawn to one another so we have a similar fashion sense without meaning too. We’d say that we’re definitely go for an understated bohemian sort of look with a bit of edge.
What’s next design wise for Cri de Coeur?
To go forward with the higher end line. Take Cri de Coeur and turn it into more statement shoes and hopefully get a line that goes right into Bloomingdales! We do a jewelry collaborative and we’re going to launch a new collection.
Visit Gina and Julie at cri-de-coeur.com
Photos by Nando Alvarez