This is what I love about my ethical community. The support we give each other. The cheerleading for even the smallest of victory’s and oh my goodness, the excitement when I discover a new ethical brand for your littles that I get to – bring out the pom poms – share with all of you. And you are going diiiiiiiiii-eeeee over this one.
I have to thank dear Christine from Treeclub Kids for this sweet introduction to a fellow Canadian who is the designer of some of the most darling soft soled shoes EVER.
I caught up with the ever vibrant and amazingly creative Adrianne from Brave New Soles and asked for her story.
Oh and just so you know, the much loved caramel came out for this little bit of adorableness. Yep, go get yours and hurry back. The wrappers are flying. Blushy emoji face.
SKIP: There’s always a “how it began” story with all of our SKIP featured makers, what is yours?
ADRIANNE: I have literally been creating for as long as I can remember. As an introverted child, I spent days on end making crafts at the family kitchen table. I did this at a pace so feverish that my parents set up a box on the floor beside me, which I would push my finished art into with my right hand while my left hand started on the next. As the box filled up, I was allowed to choose what I wanted to display in the house if I remembered I had made it within a week of doing so, otherwise the box was emptied to make room for the next onslaught. My mom still has my golden macaroni Kleenex box among a whole host of other Adrianne originals.
I started making shoes more than a decade ago during undergrad when my professors kept insisting it was a dying art. There are few things I find sadder than the idea of a world without Makers, or the concept of a “dying art”.
I apprenticed Jeff Churchill at Jitterbug Boy in Toronto, and then moved to New York to get my masters at NYU Tisch in Design for Stage and Film. I didn’t really expect a career in shoemaking, and had more or less put it behind me as a happy memory.
And then I became a Mother. I felt like I lost myself. I had no outlet. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I began making kids shoes as a creative release, and in an effort to keep my son’s constantly growing feet covered. Before I knew it I started getting order requests from friends and strangers and thus began Brave New Soles.
SKIP: As you know, we only feature ethically made fashion and products for kids. What was your ethical journey in creating Brave New Soles?
ADRIANNE: I always knew it was important to me that my footwear be made sustainably. This is why every pair is made entirely by hand using exclusively rescued leather offcuts from the theatrical, fashion and upholstery industries.
This allows me to create unique, limited run styles as singular as their wearer.
Furthermore, it significantly cuts down on waste. When making an adult pair of shoes, the maker must be extremely cognizant of the stretch of the leather. This, paired with the odd shape of a skin, means that there can be a lot of leather leftover, and most pieces are too small or oddly shaped to be used for anything.
Often, when I complete a pair of shoes, all that is left is less than a single handful of scraps, each smaller than finger sized.
SKIP: As much as we love ethically made, we love even more a giving back business model. Tell me more about how Brave new Soles gives back?
ADRIANNE: I also knew from day one that it was imperative to me that I find a way for Brave New Soles to give back.
The act of creating these pieces gives me so much bliss that I felt I owed it to use it as a platform to pay that feeling forward.
I connected with Shoe Bank Canada so that starting in January of this year, for every pair of Brave New Soles purchased, 3 pairs of donated used footwear will be distributed to Canadians in need.