Shoes to save animals
The successful footwear brand, Vans, have just released a new range of vegan shoes, after collaborating with British artist, Ralph Steadman, and WildAid, with hopes of raising awareness for 13 different endangered species.
The shoes in the range feature illustrations in Steadman’s signature style of splatters and dizzying patterns, with artwork taken from Steadman and filmmaker, Ceri Levy’s, books Extinct Boids, Nextinction, and Critical Critters.
Excitingly, the innovative launch marks the first ever partnership between Vans and San Francisco-based organisation WildAid. The shoe brand has pledged to donate $10,000 to the animal charity, which works to reduce the illegal wildlife trade and supports conservation efforts.
WildAid CEO, Peter Knights, says of the collaboration: “We hope these vivid depictions of the world’s most imperiled species can help inspire the change we need to save them.”
Vans went a step further, by encouraging contributions at a donation-inspired exhibition at its pop-up store, located on the Lower East Side in New York City. Alongside the new range, original artworks by Steadman were on show.
As well as raising funds and awareness for endangered animals, Vans latest shoes are vegan, and eco-friendly. They incorporate organic cotton, FSC certified wood skateboard decks, and packaging crafted from 100 per cent recycled materials.
Steadman and Levy are strong supporters of conservation – they created the term ‘gonzovation’. They explain what they mean by the concept: “[w]e’ve always maintained that you’ve got to make people laugh in order to engage them.”
They added: “If we just tell people, ‘you’re all dreadful b*stards, you’ve screwed it all up, and now look what’s going to happen,’ people go, ‘yeah, whatever.’ But if you make them laugh, you’ve got a chance.”
Levy explains the pair’s alternative approach to conservation, saying that gonzovation: “allows the rest of us who aren’t in those hallowed halls of conservation to have a chance to do something.”
“Conservation needs to find a way to get more people to do things that will help,” he says.
“We need to engage. We need to find a way to make people feel they’re part of it, so they’re not disassociated from conservation projects. That’s the million-dollar question for conservationists today: how do we make people gonzovationists?”
Vans vegan shoe range can currently be found online.