Bhava vegan shoes are innovative women’s footwear with a commitment not only to being animal-free, but also to a sustainable business model and favourable working conditions of manufacturing partners. Founder, Francisca Pineda, is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and has been working as a fashion designer for almost two decades now. Bhava was launched after Francisca started experiencing negative health symptoms from exposure to China made leather, including headaches and seizures. Since leaving the leather industry behind, she’s never looked back…
What inspired you to launch Bhava, and what does the brand name Bhava mean?
Bhava was launched because I decided that I was no longer going to profit from one of the most unethical industries in the world. Working over 10 years in NYC as a designer showed me a lot about what needs to change. I thought I had it all figured out and was quite pleased with myself until everything changed overnight. I started noticing that the off-gassing from the China made leather product was giving me headaches and eventually seizures. I started doing some research on the toxicity and manufacturing practices of the factories we worked with. Within a few weeks I left my job and promised myself never to work with leather again. It was an immediate decision and everyone around me thought I was nuts, but 10 years later all the daily support and encouragement from my customers reminds me that it was the best decision of my life. Imagine if everyone that worked in unethical industries just stopped following the status quo and started leading with their heart, what a different place we would live in.
Bhava is a sanskrit word describing an emotion. Bhava can be a “sixth sense” so to speak, an instinct that can provide guidance and insight into what is important to the true Self. I did not realise it at the time, but it is the perfect definition. Feeling guided by an inner strength has brought me deep spiritual peace and fulfillment in the toughest of times.
What is your motivation behind the concept “No More Victims of Fashion”?
One day I poured open my heart and these words just flowed. My mission statement acknowledges the voiceless victims of the current fashion system. These are the animals, the planet and artisans who craft our shoes and of course our women, for whom I design timeless essentials that protect the health of their feet.
What inspires you on your mission against fast fashion?
Fast fashion is basically the exact opposite of what I believe in. Victims abound in the dominant fast fashion system of today; the workers are predominantly underpaid women of colour from the poorest parts of the world, producing using the least responsible materials with no traceability, and of course purposely creating poor quality and promoting short-lived trends that become disposable after one season.
What raw materials are used in the production of Bhava vegan shoes?
We use a variety of European REACH certified components like cork insoles, recycled Japanese suede, solvent free antibacterial lining and vegan polyurethane produced with solar power in Italy, but our most distinctive component is the beautiful hand carved wood heels that will be on most of our upcoming Spring Summer collection.
How does the environment affect what you make at Bhava?
Protecting the environment is at the heart of Bhava vegan shoes. When I was first exposed to the dangerous toxins in leather I began researching everything I could about the subject. I learned that Bangladesh is one of the largest exporters of raw hides to Italy, so the poorest people in the world are making products perceived as the most luxurious. I learned that young children living along the Ganges River who are exposed to leather tannery effluent were getting grey hair and cancer at alarming rates. The stories go on and on. The more you choose to dig deep rather than look away we can see that supporting the current status quo is complicity in our planet’s destruction.
Call by the CONTENT store at 32-34 New Cavendish Street W1G 8UE or shop Bhava vegan shoes online | Read More: Meet the Makers: Ethletic Fairtrade Organic Cotton Sneakers