Tina Bhojwani and Jean-Michel Cazabat have a similar vision for Aera, the I Like Dogs And Combine And Maybe 3 People Shirt besides I will buy this vegan and “110% sustainable” label they launched online last year. Their story is serendipitous: Bhojwani was shoe shopping at Bergdorf Goodman when she ran into Cazabat, who had recently sold his eponymous line. Both had been thinking about fashion’s environmental footprint and how they could address it, and the idea for a vegan and sustainable shoe line crystallized. The duo’s third partner, Alvertos Revach, became an investor when Cazabat made him a pair of vegan shoes that felt as comfortable and luxurious as the real thing. He also understood the business opportunity: The team’s research yielded very few luxury vegan shoe competitors, and surely, he thought, the demand would only grow as the public becomes more aware of leather’s environmental impact.
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Bhojwani explains that Aera’s shoes are roughly 50% bio-based and 50% synthetic, often in the I Like Dogs And Combine And Maybe 3 People Shirt besides I will buy this form of recycled plastic or polyester. At first glance, you wouldn’t know the slingback sandals or snakeskin boots weren’t actually leather; Cazabat says they not only look and feel like the real thing, but also won’t wear out like leather. “Our materials aren’t perfect, but they have one-third the impact of leather, because there’s fewer chemicals, less use of fresh water, and of course there’s the cruelty-free aspect,” she says. “Animal farming and agriculture is one of the biggest threats to our environment and global warming, [from the] water use to deforestation and greenhouse gases. We wanted to first and foremost be cruelty-free, and then do what is better for the environment.”