Beyond Skin was born in a need for cruelty-free shoes, that were also stylish and high in quality. When Beyond Skin was founded in 2001, it was impossible to get all these 3 criteria in one shoe. You would either have to compromise either style or quality in order to have vegan feet.
Often when you finally found a pair of beautiful vegan shoes the quality of the materials would be so poor, that you would give up on getting new shoes. Or you might be needing a pair of simple heels for a dinner party and all the shoes on the marked would either be leather or look too organic for a stylish event. We all love shoe shopping, but before Beyond Skin came and filled the gap in the marked, shoe shopping could take hours and hours and you might come home empty handed, tired and frustrated.
But Beyond Skin came to the rescue and style, quality and animal friendly shoes were now on the marked.
Beyond Skin highly value the choice of materials used in our
footwear. This has to be cruelty-free to all of humans, animals and the
In order to be sustainable, it is not enough only to use vegan materials.
The process of how the materials are created, are just as important as being vegan.
A textile might be vegan, but the process of making the textile could have been extremely polluting or wasteful.
Beyond Skin satins are always made from polyesters rather than viscose as viscose has a far greater impact on the environment as it’s processed with huge amounts of acid chemicals. Sadly because most viscose comes from developing countries much of the waste from production is dumped into rivers, which often severely damages entire ecosystems.
You will never find Beyond Skin shoes made from silk as silk comes from the silk worm cocoon which is died and treated. Generally the silk is made from the cocoon at the worms chrysalis stage before metamorphosis is completed and the cocoon is pierced by the butterfly or moth. This means killing the worm while it is still in the cocoon by either being baked, dried or boiled. That keeps the raw silk tread in one piece that makes extremely fine yarn with a very sheen surface.
Commercial breeders have upped the amount of silk one caterpillar spins that the moth cannot push out of the cocoon.
If the Butterfly or moth is allowed to emerge from its cocoon the thread is broken and needs to be de-gummed and hand-spun. This is called “Peace silk’ or “Ahimsa Silk” creating a silk that is lighter and fluffier than most people would expect and has less luster.
However, this would still be a bi-product of an animal, that will have been bred and modified to generate higher amount and therefore still does not comply with Beyond Skins vegan ethos.
Our synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane (PU) and are sourced from Italy as most of our textiles. PU looks a lot like PVC leatherette, but unlike PVC it’s much kinder to the environment. PVC contains chlorine, a toxic chemical which, produces dioxin during its manufacturing process and has been linked in numerous studies to estrogen-mimicking chemicals and nasties that cause asthma. PU provides all of the glamour of PVC but without being so harmful to our environment. Although PU (polyeurothane) is made from petrochemicals, turning animal hides into leather is a much more energy intensive, nasty and polluting practice. When you take into account how much energy it takes to bring up a cow never mind the messy business of tanning its skin the environmental benefits of leather are pretty low. Although not an ideal alternative environmentally, we feel PU is clearly the less of two evils.
Leather is not only murder of innocent defenseless creatures. It is terribly environmentally harmful as well. The majority of leather is chrome-tanned. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The waste from tanneries also includes large quantities of other pollutants, including: protein, hair, salt, lime sludge, sulfides and acids.
A chrome tanning factory wastes nearly 15,000 gallons of water and produces up to 2,200 pounds of solid waste such as, hair, flesh, and trimming for every ton of hides that it processes. Leather tanning also generates 800,000 tons of chrome shavings annually, and much of this chromium waste ends up in landfills. Read more about leather production here on PETA’s site or on our own website.
Beyond Skin Fast Facts!
Times are changing to the better and now, there is in fact textile on the marked that is complete with Beyond Skin’s ethics: vegan, environmentally friendly and beautiful. This is of course, our favourite Dinamica suede.
Asahi Kasei Group from Japan is the inventor of the material Dinamica – PET Suede.
“Dinamicais recycled and recyclable, does not use solvents, but employs non-toxic methods and a water-based manufacturing cycle.
“Dinamica is ecological suede that has less environmental impact than similar products. It is made with a combination of recycled polyester (chemical-recycled process) made by Asahi Kasei. The polyester comes from PET (plastic bottles, general plastic, etc..) and from polyester fibers (T-Shirt, cloths, fibers, etc..).
Dinamica is 100% ecological, owing to the complete absence in the manufacturing cycle of solvents harmful to the health, an aspect that is highly significant and encountered nowhere else in competitors’ production cycles. The production of Dinamica in fact uses an exclusive water-based process developed by Asahi. Furthermore, the use of neutral, non-toxic dyes and recycled polyester from a full 20 plastic bottles per meter is a further guarantee of the natural approach adopted, one respecting health and the environment.
Furthermore, Miko can assure eco-sustainability throughout the whole production cycle of Dinamica guaranteeing the lowest levels of polluting emissions and energy consumption in the production phase.
Dinamica is designed to guarantee easy disposal and is 100% recyclable at the end life of the product.
It’s incredibly durable & better still it doesn’t water mark! Beyond Skin are proudly the only footwear label to be using this material – it’s currently used by Jaguar & Mercedes-Benz as their car interiors.
We often ask our textile sources to reproduce a textile more ethically in order for us to provide you with the best ethical quality. Which also means that Beyond Skin shoes are made with unique bespoke textiles, you will never find in any other footwear brands. Combined with our high quality materials and great factories these vegan shoes will last much longer than other vegan shoes.
All our materials and factories are sourced within Europe, to reduce out carbon footprint. Also, we try and visit our factories often to make sure they are all working under good conditions and getting enough tea breaks. As opposed to other high street non-leather shoes, Beyond Skin put a lot of effort in to giving you high quality shoes down to the very last detail.
We do out best to quality check every single shoe upon arrival from production to make sure you are getting what you are paying for.
So why not check out our new ethical styles from our SS14 collection which features both Dinamica, PU leathers and bespoke Italian textiles in delicious fresh colours matching this amazing spring weather.