January 07, 2013

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Resolution Revolution Evolution

We tend to announce to the world our personal New Year resolutions in order to boost our self-esteem by transforming cowardness into courageousness, yet this year it feels rather different as our personal goals have somehow shifted towards being global, from ego to eco.

It’s been hard to ignore Prince Charles’s heartfelt reflection in the press about his fears to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren…

We thought the Prince might have watched this viral (perhaps no coincidence it was released on the last day of the Mayan’s calendar); a brief history of human regression, finely animated and cut by Steve Cutts in deep dark humor.

It’s dead clear that there is no room for disrespect and arrogant behavior in our fragile ecosystem as it collapses beneath our feet. No more sweeping under the carpet either my friend, it’s time to clean up our mountainous mess.

Here at Po-Zu we have been thinking hard how to improve our product further while reducing our impact on the environment at the same time. We have big plans this year such as making our shoes even more high-grade and exceedingly durable/ reparable, yet still made from biodegradable components. Look out this autumn for our Prestige Collection (literally ‘smart’). We also have great hopes of substantially increasing our contribution to environmental charities this year.

Last but not least we have just joined the Climate Revolution launched recently by Vivienne Westwood and Lush cosmetics; check it out and please feel free to join too- http://climaterevolution.org.uk/

We love their SHOP LESS - KISS MORE motto, and more than happy to live by it :)

December 03, 2012

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Tortoise gene therapy

The tortoise and the hare fable has been a highly popular meme by surviving hundreds of generations (since ancient Greece), yet we tend to completely disregard the moral of the tale in practice.

Our obsession with speed has been constantly on the rise ever since the industrial revolution, and despite knowing the destructive consequences we continue to snowball our pace as if there is no tomorrow.

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that speed kills; it only takes one hard-hitting road safety ad campaign, as they don’t leave much to the imagination.

When you think of it, almost everything we have ever sped up (possibly as an intentional ‘improvement’) has turned out more harmful than useful. Take fast food for instance, which brought upon us the globesity epidemic (just to point out one major knock-on effect out of many). And fast fashion? As if using and dumping vast amounts of toxic chemicals in our waterways in order to speed up the production process wasn’t bad enough, the recent Toxic Threads report by Greenpeace uncovers traces of harmful substances in the clothes and shoes of some of the most popular high street fashion brands.

Everyone knows that cutting corners tends to lead to poorer quality, but more critically it endangers our environment too (if you can imagine all the corners that have ever been cut - piled up in one place). As long as companies can get away with ecocide, and as long as there aren’t any clear incentives or rewards to slow down, companies would find it hard to compromise ‘unnecessarily’. The bigger the company the harder it is for them to alter their operating system.

Perhaps this is one advantage of having a small operation- it’s relatively easy to change, and it’s even easier when you start from scratch. As the meaning of our brand name suggests (‘pause’), the very reason we started our business six years ago was to emphasise the importance of slowing down our hectic lifestyle and at the same time trying our best to ‘pause’ harming the environment too. As shoe production methods vary enormously in regards to their environmental impact, by and large the slower processes (such as stitching as oppose to gluing for instance) prove less harmful and are ultimately more sustainable.

You have probably never heard of ‘slow shoes’ before (perhaps because it doesn’t sound particularly appealing- shoes that slow you down??), but more likely you have come across the term slow fashion, and slow food. These two positive movements are part of a global force of good to promote slowness as a way to make things better, more sustainable, more resilient, and ultimately to make us happier. 

In praise of the person with possibly the highest concentration of tortoise genes in the world; the slowness grand master Carl Honore, we’d love to spread his fun and wise words. Check out this great TED talk and learn how slowness can be not just appealing but even sexy! 

The good news is that we are soon about to switch into a slowness mode during our rare allocated holiday period, and so perhaps we should try and maintain part of this feature in the new year and be reminded that ‘slow and steady wins the race’.

Oh, and by the way, have you noticed that the lifespan of the tortoise is much longer than the hare? Some even outlive humans!

October 01, 2012

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The joy of spinning

We are excited to be featuring the luxurious touch of world-famous Harris tweed on our women’s boots this season; Pep, Piper, Liv, and Suji.  

The two sophisticated looking tweeds we’ve picked are Black twill - dappled with subtle coloured specks, and a traditional flecked-pattern Barleycorn tweed that provides coarse appearance where the colours merge into a single shade from a distance.

Unlike most tweeds, Harris wool is dyed before being spun, which allows them to blend a multitude of colours into their yarn.  With each thread containing a myriad of different colours a cloth of great depth and complexity is produced. 

Apart from its striking appearance, the beauty behind Harris Tweed lies in its impressive heritage, authentic artisan workmanship, and low-impact production that is 100% locally sourced and fully traceable.

So no wonder we fell in love with their tweed, check out this inspiring video about the Harris legacy and their conscience approach to production.

HARRIS TWEED HEBRIDES from caspar zafer on Vimeo.

We especially like their pedal-power looms; not only they are energy efficient, but it keeps the weavers fit too!

This ecologically sound textile provides us with both mental and physical comfort, which fits in rather perfectly with the nature of Po-Zu.

For further info see

http://www.harristweed.org

September 10, 2012

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Eco Luxury

We are delighted to showcase our shoe fleur collaboration with Michel Tcherevkoff at the Ecoluxe London exhibition this coming Sunday!

Going luxury is a new phase in our brand evolution; a transition almost as radical as introducing outdoor shoes a year after launching Po-Zu as an indoor slipper back in 2006.

We once thought that luxury products strongly conflict with an eco friendly lifestyle, just by being an unnecessary indulgence that we could all live perfectly well without. There are however certain values in luxury that we feel rather comfortable being associated with, such as high quality, high comfort, high level of design and craftsmanship.

It may not always be the case, but for us luxury equals excellence. Making a product to the highest possible standards has always been our goal, but perhaps casual shoes could never be considered luxury no matter how well they are made, it’s more about the styling!

And that’s where our marvelous collaborator artist Michel Tcherevkoff comes in, to deliver the visual wow-effect we’ve been missing all along.

Ecoluxe London, launched by Miriam González Durántez - in September 2010, is a not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable luxury.

The exhibition opens on the 16th/17th of September 2012 (Sunday 12:30pm-8pm and Monday 9am-8pm) at London’s Kingsway Hall Hotel, 66 Queen Anne Street, Covent Garden.

http://www.ecoluxelondon.org

 

Check out Ecoluxe blog about our shoe fleur collaboration

http://ecoluxelondon.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/176/

 

If you are interested to visit the exhibition please RSVP to

rsvp@ecoluxelondon.org

August 15, 2012

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Non Toxic Revolution

We don’t seem to bang-on enough about why we chose to make our shoes non-toxic. Of course all types of ‘sustainable’ footwear follow ethical principles, whether they are made from recycled materials, recyclable, durable and so forth, but there is something fundamental about eliminating toxins that have set our goals so clear from the start.

This pressing issue is evident across most man made products, and since harmful substances are in many cases not listed on the label, we better be more vigilant with the choices we make.

This great video is a must watch, please spread the word and join this existential revolution >>>

Via Keep A Breast Foundation

http://www.kabntr.org/

July 11, 2012

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The future we want

All eyes were on Rio+20 last month, hoping for a positive outcome from the UN sustainable development summit in Brazil.

While the conclusion wasn’t as groundbreaking as we were hoping for, the summit has certainly raised awareness about the urgency of stopping the destruction of our natural environment and reducing our consumption of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels.

As we’re always trying to look on the bright side, we wanted to share this wonderful ‘uplifting’ video that carries the thought that we do have the power to sustain our world, and it all starts from us the individuals!

Perhaps we were especially drawn to the upside down world as a theme we have been following ourselves for a while…

We may feel too secure and comfortable with our feet firmly on the ground and in need of turning our world around in order to appreciate our lives and everything around us.

For more info check out

http://futurewewant.org/

http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/

June 07, 2012

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Shoe Fleur collaboration

We are delighted to introduce you to the inspirational artist and designer behind our upcoming collaboration for Spring-Summer 2013-

Michel Tcherevkoff is a conceptual photographer who began designing and sculpting footwear from flowers and plants when he noticed a resemblance between a leaf he had photographed and a woman's shoe. In 2008 Michel launched the book Shoe Fleur: A Footwear Fantasy, alongside an exhibition of his prints at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York during Fashion Week.

 Check out this video where Michel talks about his work

Shoe Fleur: The Beginning from Michel Tcherevkoff on Vimeo.

 

We are thrilled to be the first to turn Michel’s ingenious floral designs into wearable art, and are looking forward to launching this exciting collaboration at the Ethical Fashion Show in Berlin next month!

 

March 26, 2012

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The speech I didn’t have a chance to deliver

The only thing I’ve ever won was an eco toilet cleaner in a raffle.

So no wonder I was in a dreamlike state when they announced my name as the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year at last week’s PEA Awards (People and Environment Achievement Awards).

Here is the speech I never had a chance to deliver while collecting my trophy on stage: 

I am over the moon - I can’t deny it. This is probably the most meaningful moment in my life so far. But hang on… WINNING an environmental award is an odd concept. Until sustainability becomes truly mainstream, we are all big-time losers!

So beyond these 15 minutes of glory shared by all winners here tonight, however positive and amazing these projects may be, we all need to have a collaborative global goal to fix the mess we have put ourselves into.

They say global warming is what we need to combat, but perhaps we need to fight against the real life-threatening pandemics called Apathy and Greed first of all.

We environmentalists are likely to loose the battle to maintain the Earth’s habitability and will remain a minority - UNLESS environmentalism becomes a duty for each and every one of us, rather than a choice.

We have become totally addicted to a lavish and uncaring lifestyle our planet cannot sustain. And how bloody hard is it to cure addiction? How could we possibly divert people’s perceptions and priorities?

Beyond consumption the problem lies with accumulating bad habits— we've been used to making stuff the wrong way for too long (many thanks to the The Age of Stupid, which I assume you’ve all watched).

So WHY BOTHER changing the way we produce stuff if they ‘do the job’?

“Check out these super cool trainers, WHO CARES if they’re made in a sweatshop with a nasty blend of harmful substances?” 

“NEVER MIND that the cotton used for this lovely dress has been soaked with toxic pesticides, it’s so flattering, and too cheap to resist!” 

“I must have this designer handbag! Well TOO BAD the leather has been tanned with carcinogenic substances, I must have it anyway!”

Maybe the intensity of life is already too hard to bear and we are already stressed enough to ALSO care about such ‘minor details’ or ‘imperfections’...

Life is full of compromises anyway! 

And NOBODY is perfect, right? 

We fail to grasp the sheer scale of our problem and picture the global impact. It is all adding up; just multiply your own unsustainable consumption by a few billion. And to make matters even trickier, many of the harmful products appear to be deceivably inoffensive!

I was thinking it would be really cool to have a harmful-substance reader App in our smartphones, in a similar vein to those Geiger counters being popular back in the 80’s when people were concerned with the radiation from microwaves.

We self-obsessed creatures tend to focus on our own personal life, and in any case why can’t the ‘authorities’ do something? And isn’t this the government’s ‘job’?

If THEY don’t care, WHY SHOULD I ??

- Pause -

I want to conclude by paying a special tribute to the tremendous and inspirational work of Polly Higgins who just won the best Environmental Campaigner Award! Please follow and support http://eradicatingecocide.com/ as this is one of the few campaigns out there that CAN make a real and major difference.

Much love, and thank you all x

March 14, 2012

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Don’t tread on people, tread on coconuts

Check out our first ever Po-Zu animated clip. It all started as a play on the classic story about how Newton discovered gravity. We swapped the apple with a coconut, and thanks to getting hit on his head our inventive dude discovered how to make super comfy bio-based shoes…

Turning a coconut into a shoe may seem gimmicky, but it was certainly an ‘aha’ moment when our dude realized what he could do with coconut fibres. In nature, the layer of husk surrounding the coconut acts as a shock absorber to protect the coconut from breaking when it tumbles down. Dude imagined it would make a perfect bedding for a shoe, and so began Po-Zu.

It’s great learning from nature and adopting its models to design smarter products, which are also more sustainable. This design discipline is called Biomimicry, check out some other inspiring examples here:

Mother of Invention

December 07, 2011

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The proof is in the pudding

If you like baking and feel a bit adventurous, try this delicious wholesome recipe using our Edible Shoe Cream in a Christmas pudding! 

1 and 1/2 cups of mixed dried fruit (raisins, apricots and/or prunes)

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, diced small

1/4 cup brandy

1 tbsp orange and lemon zest

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup agave syrup

A pinch of sea salt

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cardamom

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pot of Edible Shoe Cream (or 1/4 cup cold-pressed coconut oil)­­

1 cup spelt flour

1 cups breadcrumbs

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup hemp milk or rice milk or soymilk

Marinate dried fruit, ginger, brandy, orange and lemon zest and juices, agave syrup, salt, spices and vanilla for about 8 hours.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Grease the inside of the pudding bowl and add the mixture.

Cover the top of the pudding with a circle of parchment paper and the top of the bowl tightly with aluminium foil with a pleat in the middle to all for expansion.

Cook for four hours in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, filled with water up to one inch from the top of the bowl.

Enjoy :)