How are my Cocobelles Ethical?

How are my Cocobelles Ethical?
Fashion is one of the largest and most environmentally polluting industries in the world. According to data from the UN Climate Change Council “The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil.” This is a reality that we in the industry might shy away from but given the growing consciousness of consumers it’s also a reality that we believe can drive positive change.

Most products encountered by the average American consumer are produced in factories that are enormous in scale, hyper-efficient and inhumane, which perhaps unsurprisingly results in a product that is often high-waste and low quality. At Cocobelle, we strive to exist outside this model of destruction. At our core we believe Fashion shouldn’t be fast, it should last.

Started From a Place of Love
Cocobelle started from a love story. Two people from different hemispheres met while independently exploring the world. They joined together to create a company to further enable their exploration but also as a celebration of the cottage industries they encountered in their travels and of the beauty they witnessed in their travels. 

They saw small but talented groups of artisanal producers making things with local materials and little impact, and thought “People would love these!”, they got designing and the makers got making. We still work with the same artisans from those early days. We know them by name. We visit, eat and laugh with them when in country, and pay them fairly for their labor. There are no unscrupulous middle men or brokers keeping the rightful share of our profits away from our producers, we know because everything we do is direct. 

This element of people empowering people and the connection of makers to markets has always been a part of Cocobelle. We believe it is ethical and has the power to change the world for the better but it results in a superior product with less impact on our planet. 

Each Product is Made by Hand to LAST
All Cocobelle products are 100% made by hand in a surprisingly down to earth setting. There are no big factories, no smokestacks and no automations. Each piece of leather is simply cut out, sanded and lovingly put together by people who take pride in their work. Work that is literally slow and allows for each sandal to stand alone as a product of integrity. In addition, all materials are local to each production. So we are not using cheap chinese imported materials. In Italy, all our leathers are 100% Italian. They are locally processed, tanned and cured to the highest European standard. This is not the norm, many machine made or lower quality products feature leathers from large environmentally destructive tanneries in North Africa or China. 

In Bali, we actually use goat leather because it’s more feasible for local suppliers to support the rearing of goats over cows. 

The fact that a pair of Cocobelle’s are designed to outlast many sandals on the market, in an age of Fast Fashion makes us a sound environmental alternative. We’re not striving for high turn-over. We want our customers to love their sandals, tell their family and friends. And come back after a couple Summer’s to replace a well loved pair. 

This is what conscious consumerism can and should look like.