Home / Designer Interviews / Interview w/ Luxury VEGAN Shoe Designer Rebecca Mink

Interview w/ Luxury VEGAN Shoe Designer Rebecca Mink

Mink VEGAN Shoes   

Rebbeca Mink vegan shoesMink is a vegan shoe line that sidesteps leather for eco-friendly, animal-free materials. It has rapidly outpaced all its competitors in the arena of “green” footwear.

 

Mink shoes are made in Italy, and every new style is perfected in fit, look and quality before even being considered for production. Each shoe is hand crafted by 4th and 5th generation shoe masters.

Three years of development went into the first collection. Mink shoes are assembled using materials from sustainable resources such as wood, cork, bamboo, non animal glue, vegetable resins, organic and recycled fabrics. Every pair of Mink Shoes has a personality of its own with each shoe named after the animal that inspired its creation. Since its launch in 2004 Mink has been featured in numerous press and adorned the feet of the most famous women in the world.
Dazzling and unabashedly sexy, Mink shoes effortlessly reflect Rebecca’s own sensibilities with their effervescent glamour and towering heels, which effectively elongate a woman’s legs and give her a confident posture. But perhaps more importantly, the line proves Rebecca’s conviction that a non-leather alternative can outperform traditional shoes. Machine-tested for durability, Mink shoes outlast their conventional counterpart thanks to Italian engineering.

GV: Where are you based out of?

RM: Venice Beach, California and the shoes are all handmade in Italy.

GV: Why did you decide to become a shoe designer?

RM: I founded a luxury vegan shoe company 15 years ago to offer women the option to have a sustainable made vegan shoe without compromising fit, quality or style. Mink shoes are made in the same factories that make Chanel, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo except Mink does not harm animals, people or the planet!

I created Mink because I love animals. I was a celebrity stylist for 25 years while I built Mink. During my peak as a stylist I spent $10-15,000 on luxury shoes for clients a month! I spent time looking at these gorgeous shoes …and as a vegan.. I could not resist! I wanted my dream shoes to be vegan. I believed it was possible to make shoes without using animal products. I took the first step. I went to Italy and met with over 15 factories over the span of 2 years and stayed focused and driven on finding the best shoemakers in the world to make Mink shoes. I was not interested in making a cheap alternative in plastic that was already available for vegan options. I wanted to make the best vegan shoes in the world so I just did it!

GV: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

RM: I am inspired by animals. Building a vegan shoe company is very difficult. If I was doing this for pretty shoes I would have given up a long time ago. I am passionate about the quality, fit and look, but I am more passionate about animal welfare then anything else. I am on a mission to shift the way people think about leather vs non leather shoes. Everyone… as it is normal… believes that non leather shoes are cheap and not well made and that leather is luxury. – I am here to change this mindset. I do not in any way feel you need animal products to make luxury goods. – I have proven it by researching and making vegan shoes for 15 years in Italy.

GV: What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?

RM: The animals are my muse. I name each shoe after an animal. Some of the names have been horse, cow, pig, chick, tuna, and many more. I am thinking of doing reptiles for Summer! I named each shoe after the animals to connect people back to the purpose of the company and also because I simply love animals natural beauty. I am not anti faux fur. I love it. I worship animals and want to show the world that we can make high performance materials that mimic what animals naturally have. In Italy we work with the best fabric mills in the world. I recently made a faux fur boot that is available custom in many different faux furs. We made an adorable heart charm with “FAUX FUR” written BIG so people know we are not promoting wearing real animal furs, but admiring their beauty. Mink uses technology to create sustainable vegan alternatives to animal products. Animals are at the heart of Mink.

GV: How do you select the materials that you use?

RM: I select my materials first by quality. We only use 100% Italian made components for our shoes. Each shoe is developed with the best materials available and all sustainable sourced and made.

GV: What has been the most exciting milestone?

RM: The day I started this journey in the year 2000!

GV: Who is your ideal client?

RM: Mink clients love shoes, luxury products, animals and the planet!

GV: When and why did you become vegan?

RM: My love of shoes started when I was about 4 years old. Actually around the same time is when I decided to stop eating meat. I was a stubborn child that knew what she wanted. I did not want to harm animals and I wanted to wear heels from a very young age. One Xmas I wrote to Santa asking for a shoe store when I was very young.

How I became vegetarian .. and later vegan…* When I was 4 years old I was at a birthday party / BBQ and a boy told me the hotdog I was eating was made of a dog. I sat there not eating my lunch thinking I WILL NEVER EAT ANIMALS and I made sure of it. From that day forward I asked what everything I ate was and I really gave my mother a hard time. My mother supported me after getting over her fear that it was unhealthy to be vegan. At one point all 3 of my siblings were vegetarian too!

GV: Do you find it’s more challenging being a vegan designer?

RM: NO! I think now is it not. When I started 16 years ago YES! I know the difference. My development and sourcing was much longer before the green movement. You just need to think outside of the box. Vegan materials are available!

GV: Tell us more about your line?

RM: Mink has had a lot of exposure with Celebrities because I have been working in the entertainment industry my entire life. I recently connected with Miley Cyrus’s Stylist about making her custom shoes and that got me really excited! I feel Miley is young, fresh and super supportive of animals. I love how she is so open and genuine about caring for animals and being vegan. She has a vivacious spirit that matches Mink quite well!

Rebbeca-Mink-Shoes---Blowfish-Light

Mink shoes are sold in vegan boutiques worldwide and direct to consumer from the website.

We do a lot of custom shoes! – We have the awesome ability to make any shoe you can dream up. Mink works with 4th generation shoe masters in Italy so anything is possible. We recently get many requests from women going vegan and not wanting to give up their Chanel, Louboutin or Jimmy Choo. Mink shoes are made in the same factories! So we can offer them custom versions of our fresh Mink designs that have the same quality and fit.. except better…they are vegan and sustainable.

GV: Choose a question you would like to answer?

RM: What would I be if I was not a shoe designer?
If I had not been a designer I might have worked on old vintage cars as a mechanic. My favorite place to be was working on cars with my dad when I was young. I was the only girl in auto mechanics class in high school. I could of had a lot of fun making cars. Making shoes is an extensive process. I like complicated career choices that challenge my mind. Shoes need to hold weight, move with the foot, and fit everyone’s size. Making shoes reminds me of the mechanics of a car. Cars are made of may parts that are created in many factories..and the same for shoes.

GV: What are your plans for future?

RM: Looking forward Mink is focused on making luxury vegan / sustainable shoes available worldwide. We are looking to expand our online business in a tremendous way this year. We also are looking to launch Mens very soon! I want to make belts, bags, clothes, lingerie, sleepwear, and more. Mink is sustainable lifestyle brand. I am just getting started!

Website: www.minkshoes.com

 

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