The sustainable luxury footwear label Essen has launched its Waste to Wonder Initiative within the Ocean Day, on June 8th.
The brand founded by Marre Muijs in 2016 was created as a response to a fashion cycle that overproduces more than it crafts, chases trends more than it determines classics, and wastes more than it sustains. For these reasons, Essen encourages people to buy less, choose better and wear longer.
Essen Waste to Wonder Initiative campaign
The brand, whose name is inspired by the word “essential”, considers itself different from other footwear brands, as it is produced in small batches, or on-demand. Moreover, it only works with high-quality materials produced in low-minimum quantities by local suppliers, usually family-run artisans in Italy, Portugal or Spain, using solar-powered systems.
The brand also considers that making shoes on-demand is a minimal waste approach. For this reason, it researches heavily into which new styles and colors to invest in, and only produces what has already been sold. By following this approach in manufacturing, it eliminates overproduction and up to 90% of waste associated with traditional production processes.
Marre Muijs, founder, Essen
After years of cleaning up local beaches with friends, Muijs, Essen’s founder, was inspired to keep shoes out of landfills and encourage its customers to look at their old pieces and mend them, rather than dispose of them, or repurpose them as something else entirely.
The Waste to Wonder initiative is asking people to spend time outdoors and take a moment to clean up their local beach, park or community. Then take a photo of the rubbish they see, tag @essenthelabel and share the image on Essen’s Instagram profile. Essen will then send a US$50 voucher as a thank to all the consumers that participated in the project.
“With Essen I want to encourage self-reflection through fashion, conscious consumption and mindful manufacturing, and encourage consumers to buy less, buy better and wear longer,” commented Marre Muijs, founder, Essen. “My number one mission is to keep our shoes in people’s closets, and out of landfill. This initiative is meant to help persuade people to shift from the ‘take make, dispose’ model to more circular economy practices by eliminating waste and a continual use of resources,” he added, conscious of the fact that shoe production accounts for one-fifth of the fashion industry’s environmental impact and generates 1.4% of global carbon emissions.
Moreover, circularity in footwear is still extremely difficult to achieve as shoes are typically made from a variety of different materials engineered to stick together, making them near impossible to disassemble. Therefore, everyone’s commitment is always more indispensable.