Taking steps to save the planet: company produces vegan shoes made from pineapples

The pineapple shoes are vegan and cruelty free. Bohema

With people being urged to cut down on their use of animal products owing to fears of global warming and increasing qualms over animal cruelty, step forward Bohema Clothing and their pineapple shoes.

A family run company founded in 2012, Bohema Clothing produces vegan and environmentally friendly clothing, and their shoes made of pineapple leaves, in particular have become a sought-after product by vegans and others looking to help animals and the world.

Wiola Wiertel, Bohema’s public relations and marketing manager, says the company wants to create and promote cruelty-free fashion, and all the products used in their clothing and footwear, including the glue, are vegan and cruelty free. The pineapple shoes, which went into production last year, are the latest product to tick these boxes.

The shoes are made of a product called Pinatex, which is derived from pineapples leaves and is durable and waterproof.Bohema

The shoes are d to produce shoes made of Pinatex, a strong, elastic, durable and waterproof eco-leather made from pineapple. The shoes came about after Sebastian Szypuła, the company’s founder, had been searching for sustainable materials which are biodegradable and vegan. The hunt led them to AnanasAnam, the producers of Pinatex, which had been established by the designer Carmen Hijosa.

“Pineapple is associated with a delicious fruit, but its leaves, which are usually left to rot on the ground, are used for Pinatex production,” says Wiertel. “To produce it there is no need for additional water, fertilizers or human labour. Moreover, its by-product is a biomass that is frequently used by farmers as an organic fertilizer. We produce our shoes regularly, a few pairs every day.”

But there is more to Bohema than just shoes. It also produces handcrafted blouses and t-shirts made of Polish cotton, and in the future the company plans to produce jackets, all vegan and cruelty-free.

“We want to show people that fashion can and should be free from cruelty,” says Wiertel.Bohema

The firm reflects the ideals of Szypuła, who became a vegan when he was 16. Coming from a family of shoemakers he set out to show people, Wiertel says, that fashion can be cruelty free and created in a way which is good for the planet.

Saving the planet by donning cruelty-free products can, however, come at cost to the bank balance. A pair of pineapple shoes can set a customer back PLN 600, but, adds Wiertel, the feedback shows they are worth the investment.

“Our clients are very happy with our shoes made of this vegan material,” she explains. “They write to us and thank us for producing cruelty-free vegan clothing, and they encourage us to keep doing it. We are very pleased with such comments. The shoes cost about PLN 600 but you can wear them for many years. You have to remember that they are good for our planet - they are handcrafted, made of the best-quality vegan materials in our small, family workshop. We are also extremely committed to choosing materials that are harmless to our planet, like Pinatex.”

The leaves from the pineapple, which are generally left to rot, are used for the shoes.Pixabay

She adds that “cruelty-free fashion is the future of fashion” as more and more people become aware of the effects their choice of clothing can have on the planet. Many designers have stopped working fur so the next step, Bohema hopes, will be them turning their backs on leather and embracing plant-based materials that offer the same levels of durability as animal skins.

“We are constantly seeking interesting and durable leather substitutes and from those we create our shoes,” says Wiertel. “We want to show people that fashion can and should be free from cruelty”.