Ostrich skin has cachet in the world of luxury accessories, but like most exotic materials, it comes at a price to animals. In an effort to raise awareness and offer a stylish alternative, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has teamed with Los Angeles-based shoemaker Rebecca Mink to create a vegan fabric ostrich-print flat available for pre-order beginning on Friday through Jan. 8.
The PETA x Mink pointy-toe ballet flats, which will ship in February, are made-to-order from high-tech, durable, nonsolvent microfiber fabric in burgundy and black. Twenty percent of the profits from the $175 flats will benefit PETA.
Mink, who started her company 16 years ago as a custom shoe outfit that has created shoes for Miley Cyrus, expanded into ready-to-wear styles that she sells on her site minkshoes.com as well as in select boutiques. The former celebrity stylist sought out the same shoemakers in Italy who handcraft Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Dolce & Gabbana shoes, while sourcing her non-animal materials there as well. Prices range from $175 for flats to $1,250 for custom-made pumps. Mink works mainly with animal-friendly leather and patent leather, but recently expanded her range to include exotic skin textures such as crocodile and armadillo.
“I’m trying to shift the paradigm and show that you can have a luxurious handmade product that’s not made from leather. The vegan materials actually last longer and are more breathable,” she said.
Earlier this year, the animal rights organization released the first-ever exposé of the ostrich-slaughter industry, in which the feathers of young ostriches are plucked, creating the characteristic bumpy-textured skin.
“While ostrich-skin shoes cause animal suffering, the the PETA x Mink cruelty-free ostrich-print shoes will help PETA save animals,” said PETA’s executive vice president Tracy Reiman.