Sustainable footwear start-up, Cleverstein have launched their ‘convertible’ flat shoe, with luxury add-ons, that not only enables you to change your look, but also to save space in your shoe collection.
In 2017, Simply Be surveyed 2,000 women and found that the average UK women owns 27 pairs of shoes. Other studies suggest that the number is as high as 34. Another study, conducted by True Fit, found that the average Brit only wears 74% of their wardrobe.
Cleverstein was founded in April 2018 by Tanya Mulesa, a 35-year-old from Ukraine, who launched the range after a house move, when she discovered that she had 70 pairs of shoes.
At the time, she was working as a commercial manager for Bloomberg, in the sustainable energy sector, and she quickly realised that her wardrobe didn’t quite match her sustainable values.
“So I started researching how I could combine my loves for fashion and sustainability, and create a multi-use, stylish, comfortable flat shoe that was eco-friendly and fair to workers.”Tanya Mulesa, founder of Cleverstein
Tanya has the rebellious fashion sense of her mother, Anna, to thank for nurturing a fashion disruptor: “She sent me to school in the flashiest embroidered cowboy boots…”
The new shoe is a ‘12-in-one’ soft leather flat, meaning that each elegant pump comes with an option of 12 different accessories. First, you choose a shoe colour (powder or black), and then you select options to add – from leopard to baby pink faux croc.
Their shoe accessories are made from waste materials from the fashion industry – handbag and apparel scraps – by a social enterprise in Ukraine, where all Cleverstein products are manufactured. Wearers are encouraged to repair their shoes and can donate them to be recycled, in return for a discount on their next pair.
Cleverstein have also partnered with WeForest, who employ women in disadvantaged Zambian farming communities, to plant a tree for every pair of shoes produced.
Tanya thinks that lockdown has given many of us the time to build capsule wardrobes, demanding luxury and comfort over excess, so more brands will be paring-back their collections in response.
“Many of us are re-evaluating what matters right now, and carefully looking at what we need and what we don’t.
We don’t need piles and piles of shoes, taking up space.
Comfort and luxury is really important to me and I think build-able fashion is going to be the way forward for a more thoughtful and time-saving wardrobe.“Tanya Mulesa, founder of Cleverstein
The COVID lockdown has seen a rise in interest from the US – with more people apparently more comfortable with buying footwear online.
In terms of success stories, the brand was the best-seller at a Bicester Village pop-up, run by Maiyet Collective (alongside 40 other sustainable luxury brands), in December 2019.
The shoes start at £245, with each add-on priced at £29.
You can find out more about Cleverstein here.