Po-Zu is an award-winning footwear brand that provides a sustainable alternative to conventional shoe manufacture that often causes damage to people and planet. Celebrating it’s tenth birthday this year, the company has incorporated ground-breaking ideas into its products – from glue-less construction methods to an edible shoe cream!
We caught up with founder Sven Segal to find out what inspired the brand’s mission and what’s next for Po-Zu.
What prompted you to launch your own brand of footwear?
After a decade of designing shoes for other brands I gradually discovered the dark side of this vastly exploitative and polluting industry. I had to step out and start following my own idea of how shoes ought to be made.
In your opinion, what are the main challenges in the footwear industry?
Footwear is a complex product – from the manufacturing processes to the fusion of many different materials. This makes it more challenging, compared to clothing, when it comes to disassembly and recycling. Cemented shoes (where the shoes are glued to the sole) are by far the most popular footwear construction, as its the quickest and cheapest method.
Cost of materials is another major issue- the cheaper options tend to be the most harmful ones, and unfortunately there is lack of legislation to phase out the extensive use of toxic substances. For example, Chromium is considered to be the 4th worst polluting problem in the word, yet over 85% of all leather production is tanned with Chromium.
You launched The Better Shoes Foundation this year, what’s the aim of this?
The Better Shoes Foundation is an initiative that aims to promote sustainable development within the footwear industry. Through this I hope to raise awareness, encourage better practices, by making sustainable shoe production methods and better material resources more easily accessible.
Do you feel there is a shift from industry peers to be more sustainable?
Definitely! Sustainable shoe brands have mushroomed all over the place since we launched Po-Zu over a decade ago. There’s a list here if you’re interested in finding more sustainable footwear brands.
How would you describe the Po-Zu customer?
People who would rather not compromise on style, comfort and ethics. Also sole pleasure seekers tend to get hooked on our deliciously comfortable coconut fibre foot-mattress.
What is next for Po-Zu?
We are working on a major co-branded line with Star Wars™ (under licence with Lucasfilm/Disney) due to be launched in August 2017. It feels a bit like a natural extension of our role (as the good force in footwear) to fight the dark side!
What does Positive Luxury mean to you?
It’s a luxury to live positively.