Established in 2001, Beyond Skin was founded with the clear objective of offering luxury vegan footwear that encompassed individuality, authenticity and sustainability. We wanted to create a brand for the discerning, for those who care about where their fashion comes from and what it stands for.
Marrying timeless trans-seasonal classics, with an authentic vegan, sustainable DNA and standing apart in a world of fast-fashion, Beyond Skin is quickly approaching its second decade of producing beautiful, sustainable style and covetable design.
Designed in England but ethically handcrafted in Spain using luxury Italian fabrics, Beyond Skin has built a feverish cult following for its trademark vintage-inspired silhouettes, expertly fused with a contemporary twist. Beyond Skin is renowned for combining rich, opulent prints and textured faux leathers, with a focus on creating a high level of quality, design and craftsmanship. We produce unique, timeless styles in limited quantities, striving to slow fashion down.
Beyond skin has pioneered the way in sustainable fashion, consistently demonstrating that transparency and social responsibility are not mutually exclusive.
We work closely with our factories in Spain so we are confident that no-one is exploited in the creation of your shoes and endeavour to source our components and fabrics as locally to our factories as we possibly can to try and reduce our carbon footprint.
Our satins are always made from polyesters rather than viscose as viscose has a far greater impact on the environment as it’s processed with huge amounts of acid chemicals. Sadly because most viscose comes from lower income countries much of the waste from production is dumped into rivers which often severely damages entire ecosystems. Plus no silk is found in our satins either so no worms are boiled alive.
Each season, we strive to be the most eco-friendly we can possibly be. Our synthetic leathers are made from cotton-backed polyurethane (PU) and are sourced from Italy. PU looks a lot like PVC leatherette, but unlike PVC it’s much kinder to the environment. PVC contains chlorine, a toxic chemical which produces dioxin during its manufacturing process and has been linked in numerous studies to estrogen-mimicking chemicals and nasties that cause asthma. PU provides all of the glamour of PVC but without being so harmful to our environment.
Although PU (polyeurothane) is made from petrochemicals, turning animal hides into leather is a much more energy intensive, nasty and polluting practice. When you take into account how much energy it takes to bring up a cow nevermind the messy business of tanning its skin the environmental benefits of leather are pretty low. Although not an ideal alternative environmentally, we feel PU is clearly the less of two evils.
All of our shoes have 100% recycled faux leather lining with a vegetable polymer coating.
All of our shoes have insoles made from approx. 70% post consumer cardboard (but this is pretty standard throughout most of the shoe industry). Our heels and top pieces are made from PU plastic that are injection moulded and our soles (except on our Beyond Skin Sole range which are made from flexible natural latex) are made from rubber resin of which approx. 70% has been recycled. We have been unable to source 100% recycled resin soles that give the same quality hard resin finish but we are on the case. We have been told that due to the nature of resin it needs to have an element of fresh material added in order to bind the recycled resin together. If anyone has come across something more sustainable without compromising quality please do let us know as we are always on the hunt for more eco-friendly materials. All these components are sourced from Spain and locally to our Spanish factories.
THINGS WE SHOULD ALL KNOW
Leather production is an inefficient use of water; a cow can drink up to 127 litres a day. Leather production uses large volumes of water in raising and slaughtering the animal, and then during the tanning process. Water scarcity effects 4 out of 10 people on our planet, but developing countries suffer the most. As leather tanning is mostly out sourced to developing countries the limited water they have access to is being used industrially instead; plus puts people at risk of contaminated water due to unsafe disposal of effluent.
On average, one cow hide will provide 18 pairs of leather shoes and each pair of shoes is accountable for the use of over 1.4 million litres of water! This figure includes the water used to rear and slaughter the cow, and to process the hide in to leather. Put simply, each time you purchase a new pair of leather shoes you are responsible for using as much water as having a bath everyday for over 40 years! In terms of disposal you’d think that leather products would be biodegradable, but the tanning agent renders it non biodegradable.
A whopping 25% of land surface is used for grazing livestock. We feel this land would be much better used to grow trees for timber, fuel, fruit and vegetables as a third of our land suffers desertification through the clearing of forests for grazing. Farm animals produce huge amounts of waste that leaches into the ground and surface water. This pollutes wells and rivers and is a huge contributor to the climate crisis.
The EU is the largest importer of reptile skins. Between 2000-2005 it is estimated that 3.4 million lizards, 2.9 million crocodiles and 3.4 million snake skins were brought in to the EU. In the US alligators and crocodiles are clubbed to death or have a chisel smashed through their spinal cord to paralyse them before being skinned alive; and wild snakes are also skinned alive.
With leather production increasing faster than meat production this brings to question the claim that leather is a by-product. If leather demand continues to increase and meat production decreases it is unlikely leather production would stop. Therefore anyone buying and wearing leather may be encouraging the slaughter of more animals.
EU regulations regarding leather production, effluent, and environmental damage are much stricter than those implemented in many countries outside of the EU. This is sadly a reason why the tanning industry is relocating to countries such as China and India, where environmental regulations are much less strict. For example it was recently discovered that leather tanneries in Bangladesh were pouring 50 tonnes of tannery effluent and waste water untreated in to the Buriganga River everyday.
Currently, we generally carry sizes EU 37 to 41 to curb over production, but if you require a size outside of this range then please do reach out to us email@example.com and we will do what we can to help you get the shoes you love. We aim to expand our size range as well as calf widths and foot widths as we grow.
We work closely with our team of shoemakers in Spain, utilizing wherever possible, sustainable materials and processes developing a new kind of luxury, one that focuses on craftsmanship and seeks to slow fashion down and inspire more discerning, conscious fashion choices.
Beyond Skin has become synonymous with trans seasonal, timeless and elegant designs, offering a classic wardrobe with a vintage inspired aesthetic.
Beyond Skin shoes have been worn by Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway and a number of other A-list celebrities and have been worn for both the Oscars and Golden Globes. The brand has appeared in publications including US Vogue, W Magazine,ELLE, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle and British Vogue among others and won numerous awards including The Observer Ethical Award, Grazia award, RSPCA, PETA and Drapers.
We pledge to give 5% of our profits to grass-root environmental and social projects. We know this is only a small amount but as we grow we will be able to give more which gives us an even bigger reason to want to grow!