MEET THE MAKER: SWEDISH SHOE DESIGNER SOFIE BLY

We talk to Sofie Bly about adding vegan shoe collection to her ethical range of shoes that includes leather pairs. Plus, a little insight into her personal style.


 
 

Sofie Bly with her son
(Image via hd.se)

Fast fashion vs Slow fashion – consumerism vs ethics. There’s a growing debate on the increase in consumerism where at one end of the spectrum there’s a huge population that wants to have easy, quick and affordable access to everything including their lifestyle choices. As a result over the past few years we are witnessing that the fashion trends are changing at a much greater rate to fulfill this need. This consumerism, which resulted in speeding of trends and mass production (that leads to environmental abuse), has been coined the term “fast-fashion”.

At the other end, there’s this socially-aware lot who are eco-conscious and are aware of their choices and its impact on the environment. The number of people joining this group has also seen a huge rise lately and because of them sustainable fashion has been gaining momentum in the fashion circles. This is also referred to as “slow fashion” aka everything eco, ethical and green with focus on fair trade practices and also handcraft as opposed to mechanised mass production.

With the huge rise in the later, even high-street brand biggies like H&M are becoming a part of this movement by launching their own capsule collections of environment-friendly products.

Interestingly, the awareness doesn’t stop here. We have also seen tremendous growth in compassionate living in recent times and the term “vegan” has never been so “cool”. People like you and me have started making sartorial choices that does not harm animals yet keeps them stylish while delivering quality.

At Address Chic we love people who make ethical choices in every aspect of their life and who respect and care about every living being – humans or animals. With that note, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Swedish shoe designer Sofie Bly, and her swoon-worthy collection of “vegan shoes”.

Positive, Aware & Engaged - that’s Sofie Bly in three words. This Swedish girl with her trademark pixie cut (and one that really suits her) has a degree in fashion from Florence and has been a designer for over sixteen years with ten of that spent in Italy. On what got her to start her eponymous label, Sofie says “After 13 years in the fashion-business I was tired of seeing products without soul being launched into the market, abusing both people and natures resources. So I started my own brand where I make shoes with focus on environment and human rights”. What makes her collection more fascinating is that all her shoes are handcrafted by the best craftsmen in Tuscany and Portugal. Vegan and luxury is the best combo ever.

We had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with Sofie and interview her regarding introduction of “vegan line” to her shoe collection, why despite being a vegetarian she still uses leather in her other ethical line, the future of vegan leather and the concern about vegan-leather being unsustainable. We also dig her further to get her style essentials. Here’s Sofie for you:

On starting a vegan shoe collection

“After a few collections I felt like I wanted to do something for our animals as well. I am a vegetarian since many years and not because I do not like the taste of meat, but because I feel sick when I see how animals suffer in our meat-factories today.

I think every being on this planet has the right to live and I never even think about killing a mosquito or spider because of my beliefs. So I decided it was time to add a VEGAN collection to my brand.”

On making leather shoes

“I believe many hard-core animal rights activists think it is not good that I also make shoes in leather, but I do what I can to sell both, and hopefully one day the demand for VEGAN shoes will be so big that I can do only that…”

Future of Vegan Fashion

“I believe that social media and education does increase the demand for vegan-products. Social media is a good eye-opener for many people like me that never really thought about how terrible the reality is behind closed doors. We grew up eating meat, never asking ourselves if it was wrong or right. I believe the world is a better place today and will be even more so in the future thanks to people who insistently spread the real truth and let us see what reality looks like.”

On concerns about quality and eco-friendliness of vegan leather

“There are vegan materials today that have the same positive qualities as leather. You can find ecological fake-leathers that “breathe” and are biologically degradable with a long durability.”

Countries she wants to sell her shoes over the next 3 years

“Right now, I sell my shoes mostly in Scandinavia, but the plans are to expand to GERMANY, FRANCE and ENGLAND.”

Interesting thing about the brand

“We only produce in Italy and Portugal to preserve the long tradition of manufacturing and keep knowledge and jobs from moving to low-cost countries.”

Her muse

“She is 25-50, she prefers quality before quantity and loves life.”

On why is her collection called CIRCLES

“Circle as in eternal, unite, timeless and feminine. Through this minimalistic tool I find new shapes for my shoes and create my collections. Circles as in WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND…”

Her personal style

“My style is very essential and comfy. For autumn I wear mostly black and mostly jersey.”

Her style essentials

"Black tights, jeans and colorful sneakers.”

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