🌎 New York City, USA
When it comes to footwear brands, particularly those made in Africa, it is Brother Vellies’ old soul touches my feet in a special way. Founded on the ethos of the ancestral shoes, “Velskoen” pronounced as “Fell-Skoon”, a lightweight but extremely tough footwear handmade by the first Dutch settlers in South Africa, the shoes have a classic look that promise to stand the test of time. “You have to have balls and be confident,” says Founder Aurora James about the Brother Vellies woman. With a range of head-turning shoes, created by a team of talented artisans using the best environmental friendly methods, your confidence level will surely rise up on its two feet. As a Brother Vellies believer, I urge all shoeaholics to ordain their feet with some shoes from the brand and below are my reasons why I entice you to do so.
1. Most of Their classic shoes are made using Kudu leather.
If you have never heard of Kudu Leather, you are not alone. I learned of this type of leather when I became interested in Brother Vellies and their production techniques. Kudu leather is an animal byproduct resulting from a government-mandated culling due to overpopulation. Much of the meat is sold at local markets or donated. The brand also uses Nile Perch, Springbok and Rabbit, all of which are sourced from local farmers in Kenya and South Africa and are entirely byproduct from the edible food industry.
2. A Good Number of Their Leather Is Dyed Using The Vegetable Process
Vegetable dying minimizes the harmful effects of chemical dyes on the surrounding environment. With Brother Vellies, 70% of their fall/winter collection is created using this process. The brand uses indigo to hand dye the organic cotton used on its sandals as well as saffron and madder to colour other components. Each pair of their shoes has a vegetable dyed natural leather insole.
3. Brother Vellies Practices Slow-Fashion
The brand uses the best practices and materials possible to try to make ‘forever shoes’ and holds the belief that good quality leather shoes are an investment that should be thought of and worn as a long-term purchase that will last our customers many, many years.
4. The shoes are made by Hand
Well most of them. According to the brand, Most of the production process for their shoes is done by hand, ensuring that only a limited number of machines are required on the premises. This keeps their energy consumption low and their employment
5. Stellar work relationship with Artisans
Relying on local artisans within Africa to craft each shoe, Brother Vellies makes sure that all the artisans receive fair wages and skills training from other experienced artisans. The brand believes that “empowering people within Africa by giving them jobs instead of handouts is the best possible way to ensure long-term growth and development on the continent”.
Their teams in Africa are composed of men and women of different ages, tribes, religions and sexual orientations. Brother Vellies workshops’ also strive to create a working environment free of discrimination and judgement.