'Behind the Brand' is our latest blog series, which asks designers behind the ethical brands curated by Vegan Style more about how they began, what their influences are, what's coming next, and a whole lot more...
First up, meet Marion, the designer behind Good Guys Don't Wear Leather.
Founder Marion, captured by Yana Yatsuk
When and why was Good Guys Don't Wear Leather founded?
Good Guys was founded in 2011. I remember at the time working for several fashion companies in France as a freelancer. I traveled to China a lot for one company in particular, and this job was an eye-opener for me.
Each trip, I was questioning the need to go that far to pay such low wages to make the most profit possible and how "creation" and "fashion" could be something more honourable and "human" than what the industry looked like at the time. In short, I felt I could do it on my own terms, differently, ethically, cruelty-free, and make it work.
How has the fashion industry, and the perception of vegan shoes, changed since you began?
It has changed drastically, I would say. The fashion industry and especially "footwear" has grown so much since I started. There are now many new companies on the market talking about "sustainability" and "circularity" in fashion. Is it greenwashing? for some part, yes, but there are also honest people in the industry who wants to make a difference.
So far, I feel like we have opened the path to the fashion industry's "new era" of a more "conscious fashion and consumerism." Good Guys, Brave Gentleman, and Vegetarian Shoes are the pioneers of the vegan fashion industry. This is a good thing, but it's also pretty hard to keep your head above the crowd sometimes. But we like the challenge, and we are definitely here to stay and enjoy the ride.
Good Guys collaborates with lots of interesting artists, can you tell us more about that?
I love that question. I just wrote a blog post called "The Good Guys Notes #6 - Art, Shoes & Veganism," and you can read all bout the artists we collaborated with over the years. I love artists, and I paint, draw, and do ceramics myself.
As soon as I see an excellent opportunity to collaborate with an artist, I try to make it happen. I want Good Guys to be a place of creation, experimentation, and opportunities for explorations. Even though we have our own style and it can be very minimalist and "pure," I love to bring a bit of playfulness and fun with exclusive designs, and for that, I collaborate with artists most of the time.
Some of your latest pieces us AppleSkin, can you tell us more about innovation at Good Guys?
Appleskin, of all the other "sustainable" and eco-friendly alternatives to leather, is my favourite. I know about leather as I worked with leather for many fashion companies, and my goal is to find an option that is as close to leather as possible, beautiful, and durable. Appleskin, for me, has all the qualities. It's a fantastic product with a beautiful concept, and the finish is incredible.
What's your personal favourite Good Guys shoe?
Right now, it's the OLIVER, a brand new unisex dealer boots made in Italy that we will release this Fall-Winter22. It's hand-stitched, the technique is called Climb-Stitched, and we will talk about it very soon on our website and social media. :)
I also love the JERRY rainbow slides because they are a fun statement that you love colors and like to be playful with your "looks." whenever I wear them, I feel like my feet are smiling, and I can totally dress them up or down, I think they look great on any occasion.
Do you have a favourite quote that guides or reflects you?
Okay, I recently fell in love with a song by Dan Reeder that celebrates nature and life with so much humour. These, below, are the only lyrics on repeat, it goes like this:
"Born a worm
Spins a cocoon
Goes to sleep
Wakes up a butterfly
What the f*** is that about?"