AERA is leading the luxury footwear industry forward by placing equal value on product, people and the planet. With timeless designs that are ethically crafted from certified vegan materials, this brand strives to make sustainability the new normal. AERA's founders believe doing good is as important as looking good – and the industry agrees: the brand has been awarded twice at the Fashion Group International's Rising Star Awards, offered Positive Luxury's Blue Butterfly mark, and featured in publications like VOGUE, Page Six, Forbes, ELLE, and Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine.
AERA's story began with three friends sharing a common passion: sustainable manufacturing and the well-being of people and our planet. Tina Bhojwani and Alvertos Revach met as students at Georgetown University in the 90s and remained in touch, meeting over the years in either Athens or New York City. Over dinner one night in 2017, Tina described how, after 20 years of working for large companies such as Donna Karan, Theory and Dolce & Gabbana, she was ready to do something different that contributed to the greater good. Alvertos had recently left his family business to set up Humble Holdings, an investment fund focused on sustainable businesses.
They discussed the urgent need for sustainable practices in the fashion industry and how they could work together in this pursuit. Shortly afterwards, Tina bumped into her former colleague, shoe designer Jean-Michel Cazabat. They started discussing the possibility of making vegan and sustainable shoes - Jean-Michel was up for the challenge and already had some ideas regarding materials along with relationships with factories in Italy’s Veneto region. Once the idea was solidified, they shared it with Alvertos, who was immediately intrigued – and so, AERA was born.
“We believe that luxury is not a new pair of shoes – it is clean water and fresh air. It’s not about how much you have, but how much you give back. It’s considering people and the planet when making product. It’s raising the bar, not just for yourself, but for others. It’s about honouring traditions while blazing new trails. It’s about looking forward, not back. It’s about making sure every step you take, has as small an environmental impact as possible. Because real luxury is leaving the world better than you found it."
AERA is constantly looking to improve their practices to minimise environmental impact – their supplier was the first company to develop 100% solvent-free materials, composed of water-based resins. They are also investing in new materials made from renewable, bio-based sources. The outers of AERA shoes are made from cotton, polyester, polyurethane, poly-viscose, polystyrene and nylon. Aware that synthetics come with environmental concerns of their own, the brand is working with SCS Services – a global leader in sustainability accreditation – to offset this impact by 110%.
The brand's signature sea glass-coloured lining contains elements derived from made from non-food grade field corn and polyurethane partly obtained from renewable sources. For their soles, AERA uses Thunit®, a unique material made in Italy from 50% synthetic rubber, 40% inorganic mineral composts such as silicones and mixed clay, and 10% additives (fastenings, pigments and plasticizers).
To ensure the highest level of quality and ethical working conditions, as well as minimise transport's impact on the planet, AERA works exclusively with Italian material suppliers. Small, family-owned businesses in Veneto make their shoes and the brand ensures that everyone in their supply chain earns a living wage and works in a safe, healthy environment.
The brand is working on creating an employee profit-sharing scheme, so that everyone on the team becomes a partner in the company and shares in its success. The aims is to build a company where where employees are valued and feel positive about the work they’re doing, guided by a sense of purpose and clear mission.
The brand aims to scientifically measure the impact of every pair of shoes that they make, with the goal of improving practices and offering solutions. They have teamed up with SCS to track the journey of production and guarantee transparency. Assessments by SCS include a “Cradle to Consumer” Life Cycle Assessment that quantifies the impact of the shoes on global warming potential, fresh water consumption, ozone depletion potential and other environmental factors.
Based on its results, the brand works to offset these impacts, alongside the effects of their plastic use. AERA has invested in the Green Trees Reforestation Project that reforests farmland in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
Other investments include a commitment to help restore water in critically dewatered rivers and streams around the US, and working with Plastic Bank, an organisation that empowers people in countries with significant plastic pollution issues.
AERA shoe boxes are of equivalent quality to any luxury shoe box – with the difference that they are made of paper that contains 40% recycled post-consumer waste and 15% residues of organic waste. The rest is FSC-certified and GMO-free paper, produced with EKOenergy, resulting in a 20% reduction in carbon footprint. Inside the box, customers will find 100% post-consumer waste recycled tissue paper and the brand's 100% Global Organic Textile Standard certified cotton dust bag.
All AERA shoes are certified vegan by PETA. The brand went to great lengths to ensure that all components are free from animal ingredients, yet still maintain the quality and style expected from a luxury shoe.
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What are the best vegan trainers?
That’s a hard one as ‘best’ is personal! Immaculate Vegan has one of the largest collections of vegan trainers from a wide variety of brands from across the globe. Take a look! Our best sellers come from BeFlamboyant, Humans are Vain, Yatay, Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, Ration.L and Komrads.
What are vegan trainers made from?
Vegan trainers (and sneakers) are made without the use of any animal materials, such as leather, suede, fur or wool. Vegan shoes are made of a variety of fabrics, traditionally synthetic but increasingly using innovative materials derived from nature with all the properties of leather, such as apple leather, cactus leather and bio-based leather (made from oil derived from cereal crops). Many synthetic trainers are now made using recycled plastics from ocean trash.
Are vegan trainers waterproof?
That depends on the style and the fabric in question. Canvas trainers are not waterproof, vegan or otherwise. But most of our trainers are water-resistant and some are also waterproof, as well durable and 100% vegan.
Are vegan trainers durable?
The quick answer: yes! But you can make them last longer by taking care of the shoes. Just as you would care for animal-leather trainers, you should look after your vegan leather trainers. With proper care, vegan trainers can last anywhere from two to five years, depending on how much wear and tear they encounter, which is the same as their animal-leather counterparts.
Are trainers the same as sneakers?
Yes! As far as we are concerned they are.
The British call them trainers, because they can be used for sports or training.
The Americans call them sneakers, presumably because, being soft-soled, they're suitable for sneaking around in!
But to confuse things further, they are also called tennis shoes in the US.
What are vegan sandals made of?
Vegan sandals are made without the use of any animal materials, such as leather, suede, fur or wool. There' a wide variety of materials that can be used to make vegan sandals, including polyurethane (also known as PU), apple leather, pineapple leather (Pinatex), cactus leather and bio-based leather (made from oil derived from cereal crops). In addition, some vegan sandals are also made from recycled materials, such as recycled polyester or other recycled fibres.
Are vegan sandals durable?
Many vegan sandals now are made using high quality and durable materials, and many of the new vegan leathers are of very high quality. But you can make your vegan sandals last longer by taking care of them well. With proper care, vegan sandals can last for many years, depending on how much wear and tear they encounter, which is the same as their animal-leather counterparts.
Are vegan sandals better for the environment?
Vegan materials tend to have a much lower carbon footprint and be much be kinder to the environment than animal leather, which is one of the most environmentally damaging materials used in fashion. Whilst there are vegan materials such as PVC which are toxic and harmful, none of the vegan sandals or products at Immaculate Vegan contain PVC. We also choose to partner with brands who are creating the most sustainable vegan sandals possible, using the most sustainable vegan materials.
Are vegan leather sandals comfortable?
There's really no difference here between vegan and non vegan sandals – it all depends on the quality and fit of the brand and the styles you choose. We partner with premium footwear brands at Immaculate Vegan to bring you vegan shoes that are high quality, stylish and comfortable.
Are vegan sandals good quality?
Whilst not all brands are equal, at Immaculate Vegan we select footwear brands making high quality, stylish and cruelty free vegan sandals and shoes.
Are vegan sandals waterproof?
That depends on the style and the fabric in question. Canvas and fabric vegan sandals are not waterproof, vegan or otherwise. But some of our vegan sandals are water-resistant and some are also waterproof, as well as durable and 100% vegan.
What are vegan boots made of?
Vegan boots are made without the use of any animal materials, such as leather, suede or. Vegan boots are made of a variety of fabrics, traditionally synthetic but increasingly using innovative and high performing materials derived from nature, with many of the properties of leather (but none of the cruelty, and with a much lower environmental impact). These include apple leather, cactus leather, grape leather, Pinatex (pineapple leather) and bio-based leather (made from oil derived from cereal crops). Sometimes recycled plastics are also used.
Is vegan leather and vegan suede durable?
The quick answer: yes! But you can make them last longer by taking care of the shoes. Just as you would care for animal-leather boots, you should look after your vegan leather boots. With proper care, vegan boots can last anywhere from two to five years, depending on how much wear and tear they encounter, which is the same as their animal-leather counterparts.
Are vegan boots comfortable?
Yes, we find that vegan boots are as comfortable as animal-leather versions. As with all shoes, the higher the quality you can buy, the more comfortable they will be.
Are vegan boots waterproof?
That depends on the style and the fabric in question. Many vegan leathers, such as cactus leather, other bio-based leathers, and polyurethane (PU) leathers are naturally water resistant, in a way that animal leather isn’t. However it’s advisable not to let them get soaked, and to wipe off any surface water as soon as you’re able to. Allow them to dry naturally.