Sick of “sensible” shoes? Tired of only stumbling across vegan footwear that looks – how shall we put it? – more comfortable than stylish? The answer to your prayers is here: Huntd, the new, just-launched cruelty-free footwear label started by Aussie fashion blogger Nadhisha Lu from the vegan fashion blog of the same name (Huntd). You’ve seen Nadhisha in several of our #VildaOOTD round-ups, but this street-style star has more up her sleeve than just a killer selfie game. Prepare to see her latest venture take the vegan fashion world by storm.
Nadhisha’s road towards veganism began in 2013, when she came across this PETA and Stella McCartney video depicting the cruelty of the leather industry. Like many of us, she had an eye-opening moment and vowed never to wear animal skins again. Her blog was born out of the desire to invite fellow compassionate fashion lovers to follow along in her “hunt” for cruelty-free fashion finds. But one of those finds was a bit harder to, uhm, find: high-quality heels.
After quitting her full-time corporate job in 2015 to dedicate herself to her vegan fashion dream, Nadhisha tapped into the idea she’s always had: to create a cruelty-free shoe brand. “I began designing my shoes when I started my blog,” she tells Vilda. “I had been sketching shoes (and bags) around the same time because I found that it was hard to find the perfect vegan designer shoes that didn’t cost a fortune or ones that were well-made.”
The Huntd designs are made from water-based polyurethane, a relatively new vegan material which has several health and environmental benefits: firstly, the only emission it generates is water vapour. Secondly, it is free from solvents containing carcinogenic agents, phthalates and chemicals that are toxic to marine life and have a hard time biodegrading. The brand claims to be committed to searching for even better materials as their journey progresses.
What’s more, the shoes are ethically produced. Huntd’s chosen factory in Chengdu, China, pays their employees 3-6 times the national minimum wage. The workers work 8am – 12pm, then have a 2-hour break and work again from 2pm to 6pm (just the fact that Huntd knows this information and shares it publicly says a lot about their commitment. Try and ask a high-street brand what hours the workers at their supplier factories work, and get ready for question-mark faces). The insurance provided to workers covers covers their social security, health insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance, maternity insurance and their pension. Local workers go home after the day is done, whilst rural workers rent a house and are given allowances for renting and transportation. There is also a monthly company dinner for all workers.
Clearly ethics are crucial for Nadhisha, but so is design. Releasing one style at a time, the blogger-turned-entrepreneur has set out to carefully collect knowledge about her customer base in order to provide sizes and designs that clients enjoy. The brand is launching with a classic stiletto pointed pump in matte black, patent nude and patent black – a style that will elevate any wardrobe and add sophistication to outfits for years to come.
In a world where vegan-friendly and sustainable brands are competing for attention in a market that is getting less niche by the day, what does Nadhisha believe sets her brand apart? “I think what makes Huntd different from its competitors is its luxe feel,” she tells Vilda. “I want Huntd pieces to be treasured and an investment piece.” But that’s not all – Huntd’s beauty is more than skin deep. “I also think our transparency in the process and materials sets us apart as customers are let in on all aspects of the brand, creating awareness and trust. I definitely wanted my brand to be as informative and as authentic as possible.”
See more from Huntd on their brand-new website here.
All photos courtesy of Huntd