If you’re a follower of us at Koi, you’ll see that we love to brag about being a vegan brand. One thing we don’t always brag about though, is the reasons why we’re vegan. We aren’t doing it because it’s a fad or a trend - in fact, although veganism has came a long way in the past few decades, it was significantly less mainstream back even in 2016 when Koi was born. You could even say we started the trend. Or you could also say that’s a complete lie. We’re empaths :PNovember 11th, 2022 | Abby Brooks
The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 - with 600,000 in 2019 compared to 150,000 in 2014. One challenging factor in the process is knowing how and when to start. It feels strange to just spontaneously cut out all animal products from your diet on a Tuesday afternoon, when you consumed a whole-ass chicken sandwich less than 24 hours prior. In my personal experience, a good time to start is January: “new year, new me” has a brand new meaning. Call it a New Year’s resolution that you actually stick to.
The Vegan Society states that in 2016, there were 23,000 people signed up to the Veganuary campaign (where people eat vegan for the first month of the year), whereas in 2022 there were 629,000! Many of these people, myself included, decide to stick with it after this month, too.
These massively encouraging numbers show how much the word has spread, and whether it’s down to a ‘trend’ or not, we’re here for it. Although these statistics don’t necessarily reflect the number of people buying vegan shoes, in 2020 Vegconomist reported that by 2025, the vegan “leather” market is predicted to be worth $90 billion (US), in comparison to $25 billion in 2020. This of course suggests that the demand is increasing. Pictured: anigodhaniya
I myself am a hypocrite - I follow a plant-based diet but I don’t always scrutinise my clothes, shoes and other products to check that they’re vegan before purchasing, as much as I would with food. I even go so far as to turn a blind eye, buying from brands that I know doesn’t sell vegan products but failing to double check.
I bet you probably own a pair of Nike trainers (I know I actually own multiple), but did you know they still use leather, wool and down feather in the production? They retail some of my favourite sportswear and lifestyle pieces, as well as being a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. But, the fact that I consciously have bought from them demonstrates my value of choosing fashion over animal welfare: a value that I would like to alter. An aim of mine is to continue reminding myself of the horrific nature of acquiring animal leather. Image above: Nike
Animal welfare is the most obvious reason to choose vegan shoes over their leather alternatives. It’s easy to disconnect the animal from the shoe and forget the process it took to get them there, especially since leather shoes generally look so good.
But - those cute cows, pigs, goats and sheep you see at the farm, and all over your TikTok FYP page? Sadly they’re innocently murdered for the sake of fashion, and the process isn’t pretty. The leather industry claims over one billion lives every year, and it gets worse: if you’re buying leather goods that were produced in China, sometimes dog and cat leather makes it into the UK and European markets. How? Because of the untraceable supply chain. This information was publicised heavily between 2014-2019, however more recent sources cannot be found confirming this.
My personal view is that all animals have an equal right to life, however I know not everyone possesses this same view. For those carnivores and leather-wearers who love their domesticated pets, this might persuade you to join the cruelty-free shoe hype.
Although celebrities aren’t everything, we’re all guilty of following the crowd, which is why them promoting a vegan lifestyle is a super important part in influencing the future generation. In short: Billie Eilish wears vegan shoes, so you should wear vegan shoes.
Our queen Miley Cyrus has said before “there doesn’t have to be torture in fabulous fashion” and truer words have never been spoken. This multi-talented icon has continuously spoken out against the use of animal products for our vanity, whether it’s clothing or makeup. She has also previously collaborated with Converse on a vegan shoe and apparel line, so Miley if you’re reading this HMU and we can sort a collab too ;)
Kardashian is a household name in this day and age. Although their style is undeniably influential to Gen Z and beyond, the uber-rich Kardashian clan have been known in the past for splurging on luxurious designer fur pieces, ignorantly parading around in them - which sadly promotes animal cruelty. However, back in 2018, Kim K announced that she had parted ways with her beloved furs and will be wearing vegan only, thanks to Pamela Anderson calling her out on it in an open letter (we love you Pamela!) This kind of anecdote proves that it’s never too late to change your habits - and it most certainly isn’t embarrassing either.
Why not take some inspiration from other famous vegans including Lizzo, Venus Williams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ariana Grande?
Who even has the funds in 2022 to splurge on a pair of real leather shoes? Vegan shoes are generally cheaper. If you’re buying cruelty-free shoes then on average, you won’t break the bank nearly as much as if you were getting a pair of real leather shoes. There’s so much variety on the vegan shoe market these days - you’re most certainly not limited to ugly sand-coloured trotters. Despite them being cheaper, this shouldn’t be a sign to become over-consumer - after all, doing a fashion haul is NOT the key to saving the planet. Image above: @rombaut
Us preaching animal welfare and veganism should not be confused with sustainability, as we still have a long way to go. OluKai put it perfectly into words: “It’s important to remember that animal-free shoes are not always more “environmentally friendly” by default. Vegan shoes are generally considered to leave a smaller carbon footprint…It is a lengthy and contentious debate…but vegan shoes have long been a symbol of a responsible lifestyle.” This motivates us at Koi to be on a constant mission to improve the quality of our shoes so that they will stand the test of time and last you as long as possible - making an effort to save animals and the planet one step at a time.
Koi shoes are 100% vegan, if we hadn’t told you already. I hope our shoes are hot, sexy and cool enough to persuade you to join the vegan shoe side (or even try it just once). Pictured above: @beezybeyyur