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Jessica Nelson

just a lady full of ideas...

12

2

Sins of Our Mothers: Learning from our collective past mistakes to make amazing, and amazingly guilt-free, shoes in the future!

I'm a dual-natured person to the extreme.  As far back as I can remember (I'm talking three, four years old here), I've loved animals and lacked any desire to eat meat.  Growing up, this didn't change, but I also started developing really strong opinions of what was emotionally and aesthetically pleasing to me; some of which completely conflicted with a few of my morals.  I've REALLY grown to love leather; the feel, the look, the way a lazy dresser like me can throw a leather jacket on top of stretch pants and a T and look like a totally different person with zero effort.  But to say I feel TREMENDOUS guilt about what I'm wearing, or- what I want to wear, is a complete understatement.

About 10 years ago I started working as a shoe designer, which really checked a lot of boxes for me as a right/left brained person who is both an artist and a dork (I'm an ex calculus tutor and computer programming nerd).  I loath to say I'm a "fashion person," not only because it makes me look like some sort of hybrid douchebag/pretentiously-more-fashion-than-thou asshole, but because I love design as problem solving geek- not because I love fashion, per se.  Working over the years in many fabric mediums, visiting leather tanneries and fake leather factories, I've come to develop what I now refer to as the "vegetarian + hardcore environmentalist's conundrum" as I fucking LOVE leather, but hate how it's obtained and how fake leather is produced.  I have to add that environmental concerns have always been near and dear to me as well.   But, design is problem solving for me; it's the best of art and math combined.  I've come to realize I need to find a way to scratch both of those itches.

In my odd little head I had this thought running 24 hours a day for the past 10 years since I started making shoes: what's worse? the unnecessary suffering and death of the animals- for what? so my lazy ass can spend less time thinking about what she wears in the morning? because that's bullshit; or the production of faux leather that all those fake-I-care-about-the-animals-but-want-to-make-bullshit-shoes-that-pollute-the-earth celebrities *ahem* make, and call "green" because they don't contain leather, but are constructied of these awful materials where the production of them has far greater environmentally damaging repercussions than the already horrible leather- where the water, air, etc near where these materials are produced cause birth defects and render local crops inedible?  Do I want to be one of these halfway/ almost is good enough people?  The answer is simple: absolutely fucking NOT.

I want to wear, and to make for others to wear, the most amazingly badass shoes- deceptively simple to the average person's eye, with impeccable craftsmanship; where the details are so perfect, and so subtle, the average consumer may not know why they love the shoe and need it- they just know it looks amazing and they have to have it.  They may not even know that the style they're coveting is both green AND vegan; they want it because it simply looks damn good.  As of yet, most "green" or "vegan" shoes are either/or, and are so damn ugly that the thought of them makes any female want to stop shaving her armpits immediately.  But that's not me.  I'm probably Rick Owens' biggest dork fan, and I listen to nine inch nails to quiet the demons in my head; I'm far from goth, however- I just like balance, and I'm sick of my only options being horrible camper-esque crap shoes.  I want to make shoes that offer up all that a trip to the Selfridge's shoe boutique does: original, amazingly crafted, have-to-have-them-now styles but that still let me sleep easily at night. I know there's a way...

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