Alterre Makes It Possible For Shoes To Be Cute, Customizable, and Eco-Conscious

Shoeography | Tuesday, November 12, 2019 | 1 comments

You know what they say: you can't judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. But when it comes to eco-chic shoe brand Alterre, you'll probably be able to take note of the company's whimsy and innovation right away -- and you might soon be inspired by their commitment to sustainability.

The U.S. apparel market may be expected to grow to a $385 billion valuation by 2025, but designers know they need to do more than create beautiful products for their brands to succeed. The modern consumer is more focused on environmental responsibility than ever before, as is evidenced by the fact that electric vehicles will make up 54% of new car sales worldwide by 2040. Brands now need to address green practices in some way in order to stand out. Many have managed to make sustainability truly fashionable.

As of 2017, there are more than 17,300 warehouses across the United States. Most filled with consumer products that put little stock into the impact their production and distribution processes have on the rest of the world. In the case of Alterre, things are different. It's more than using responsibly sourced materials in their products. The brand does make a significant effort to utilize eco-friendly materials, like recycled plastics and leathers. Although this limits the type of shoes they can make (as "virgin" plastic is required for stiletto heels, for example), the company's founders -- Shilpa Iyengar and Harmony Pilobello -- are confident that their aesthetic and sustainable decisions are aligned. But Iyengar and Pilobello haven't stopped there. They're also making an effort to reduce unnecessary waste by ensuring that their products are as versatile as possible. In fact, their shoes are customizable, meaning the wearer can switch out the base and the upper of a given shoe to create endless style possibilities.

Basically, they're modular shoes. The consumer can buy a base (which come in sandal and platform styles) and several "uppers," which all work interchangeably. This allows the wearer to get much more out of her shoes and be a bit more creative. Plus, it can eliminate the need to buy (and eventually get rid of) several similar pairs or shoes -- and could potentially make packing for a trip a total breeze. Plus, these shoes are seriously cute and contemporary.

It's taken consumers a while to catch on, as some have shied away from the unfamiliar or expressed concerns about the comfort of these styles. And while the platforms might not be ideal for the 30% of Americans who walk for exercise, they're perfect for a strut down a busy street or a morning stroll with another stylish friend. It doesn't hurt that the brand was founded by two women and donates 5% of its profits to Restore NYC, which helps sex trafficking victims. All in all, Alterre is an intriguing shoe brand that's doing some excellent work to promote greater eco-consciousness -- all without sacrificing the desire to look fashion-forward.

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