Your eco-wedding shoe solution: Danielle shows you how to go vegan! (Nick Scott/MNN)


Danielle:  The wedding dress gets a lot of attention for every bride, but you can’t forget about your feet.  Shoes are a great place to introduce a little funky twist, even for those traditional brides.  And they’re also an area where you can still hold true to your sustainable values.  I’m here with Elizabeth Olsen from Olsen Haus Shoe Design.  She creates the most interesting, funky, vegan shoes based in New York.  Tell me a little bit about your background.  When did Olsen Haus come about?  How did this all come together?

Elizabeth:  Sure, sure.  The line came about because I’d been a vegetarian for 19 years and now I’m a vegan.  And there weren’t really shoes out there that I wanted to wear.  So I had to go and make my own, which are a little bit--a little bit quirky, kind of unexpected details.  So that’s what I did.

Danielle:  So what does it mean a vegan shoe?  How do you produce that?  What’s it made of?

Elizabeth:  By definition, a vegan shoe it just means that it doesn’t have any animal products in it.  A lot of times, companies will - even if they use a non-animal upper - they’ll put like a piece of pigskin or something back here.  We don’t do any of that.  And then the sole is a composite of rubber that looks like leather but it’s not.

Danielle:  Yeah, it definitely looks like leather.

Elizabeth:  So nothing, nothing I do is leather.

Danielle:  Okay.  So you actually -- you're--you're not using leather and you're also feeling good about the substitutions your making?

Elizabeth:  Absolutely.

Danielle:  Why do you think it’s important for brides to introduce a vegan or sustainable shoe on their wedding day?

Elizabeth:  I think it’s important to think about these things all the time, whether it’s your wedding day or not.

Danielle:  Absolutely.

Elizabeth:  But also, like we were talking about with the wedding, you know, you want to wear something that you can wear after the wedding and the whole party can wear.  I mean, just to wear something one time, I’ve done that with a dress.  It’s such a waste of money.  And it’s just kind of pointless.  So if you can, you know, marry the two, why not?

Danielle:  So to speak.

Elizabeth:  Yeah.  Oh, exactly.  And then--and then also, you know, it’s about education too.  Like if you're hip and you're -- you want to be eco-friendly, and you're doing it in your wedding, think about all the rest of the people that are attending the wedding.  They’re experiencing that with you and it’s opening their eyes.

Danielle:  Absolutely.  And that speaks to sort of every element of the wedding.  And that’s what I talk to with my brides a lot, like you--you don’t have to bang your guests over the head with this.  You don’t have to put signs on the table advertising things.  But if they look at you and they know your values, they’re gonna say, “How” -- they might ask you like, “How do you reconcile your vegan-ness with your awesome shoes?”

Elizabeth:  Yeah.

Danielle:  And suddenly they --

Elizabeth:  Just do it -- just do it by example and do it in a glamorous way and people are automatically attracted to it and they’re not thrown off by it.  They wanna know like, “What’s all the fuss about?” you know?

Danielle:  Yeah, yeah.  Thank you so much.

Elizabeth:  Thank you.

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Danielle Venokur, creator of a Manhattan-based sustainable event planning company, hosts MNN's "The Green Party." In this series, Danielle offers her easy and elegant ideas for hosting intimate gatherings and big events in an eco-friendly way. Danielle has mastered the art of blending stylish and hip while being sustainable and responsible. You can learn about her party style by looking at other chapters of "The Green Party" video series.


The Green Party: Vegan options for your wedding shoes
Video: Your eco-wedding shoe solution: Danielle shows you how to go vegan!