A RADICAL VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF FOOTWEAR
Reading time: 4 minutes
Our view is one of Hollywood celebrities, Amazonian Chiefs, climate delegates, negotiators and world leaders. This is the landscape from our stand inside the UNFCCC pavilion – or ‘The Blue Zone’ as they call it round here. Yes, COP26 is in full swing and the team from Vivobarefoot are right in amongst it, thanks to UN partners, Innovation 4.4. But why? What does COP26 have to do with Vivobarefoot?
Vivobarefoot’s Chief Design Officer and Co-founder, Asher Clark helps indigenous representatives take 3D scans for VIVOBIOME
Avoiding climate chaos isn’t just something to interest a challenger brand creating minimalist footwear. Nature is economics – and if humans can’t find balance with our natural world, we’ll destroy it, and ourselves.
So, all businesses have a vested interest in trading in ways that respect land, sea, people – and the interconnection of all creatures that create our world. But working regeneratively – mindfully, thoughtfully, compassionately – has been part of Vivo’s vision, right from the start. Our footwear helps restore natural foot function and human health, and the way in which we do business helps restore the environments in which we exist.
“HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROPOSE SYSTEMIC CHANGE AT COP26 IS A HUGE MOMENT FOR VIVOBAREFOOT. IT’S THE CULMINATION OF MANY YEARS WORK THAT RE-IMAGINES THE INDUSTRIAL SHOE MACHINE. ‘BIG SHOE’ DAMAGES THE HEALTH OF PEOPLE, AND THE PLANET. OUR AIM IS TO START TO UNRAVEL THAT IMPACT, CREATING RE-CONNECTION WITH OUR NATURAL WORLD.” GALAHAD CLARK, CEO, VIVOBAREFOOT.
In the last 2 years, 80% of our pre-tax profits have gone towards socially and environmentally focused, grass-roots initiatives. This means we can support projects that support the regeneration of land, of hearts and minds– such as the Apricot Centre. Our recent partnership with non-profit organisation, Little Sun also resulted from this strategy.
“OUR BUSINESS WAS DESIGNED FROM THE OUTSET TO BE A FORCE FOR GOOD. WE BELIEVE THAT WE MUST FIRST RECONNECT TO THE EARTH TO RESTORE THE HEALTH, OF OUR PLANET, OUR ECONOMIES AND OURSELVES. WE SUPPORT PROJECTS THAT MAKE OUR VALUE CHAIN AND COMMUNITIES MORE REGENERATIVE, ADVANCE RESEARCH INTO NATURAL HEALTH, AND WE INVEST INTO FOOTWEAR AS A SERVICE.” DULMA CLARK, HEAD OF THE LIVEBAREFOOT FUND
A GREENLIGHT FOR THE BLUE ZONE
Only a select few British organisations have been asked to showcase their innovations inside the official UNFCCC pavilion, the ‘Blue Zone’. We’re one of them. What better arena to share our developments in the world of 3D printing and bespoke footwear? This is the incredible setting in which we’ll unveil VIVOBIOME.
We have always designed footwear that allows your feet to move freely, to expand and grow, as nature intended. We are the antidote to the habitual fashion of locking feet away, controlling them in narrow, heeled containers.
Our feet connect us to the earth. They are the root of our balance – if we’re not feeling it, we can’t care about it. We highlight how our bodies can adapt to improve our personal ecosystems and how our approaches can improve the ecosystem of the footwear business. Balance in all things – starting with our feet.
The VIVOBIOME vision goes further. 3D printing will allow us to tailor your footwear to your exact dimensions. No more, ‘do these sizes run large or small’, or worrying about the carbon footprint and freight miles your shopping has accumulated. When footwear is printed just for you, at local outlets, it’s a vision that harks back to the days of cottage industry and indigenous cobbling. It’s a model of local production, on a global scale.
Similarly, as we move towards advanced materials that are created with end-of-life in mind – built-in utility, not built-in obsolescence – we will be able to print products that can be returned, broken down and reassembled. Products that resemble nature’s model – where everything is used, and everything can be disassembled and recreated. Over and over again.
That’s why we are also partnering with Innovation 4.4’s Oceans Prize. This is a call for innovators to develop plastic alternatives. Current oil-based plastics release toxins as they break apart. Bad for us, bad for our environment, bad for our fellow species. Non-toxic biopolymers do not harm humans or ecosystems – but research and development has been sorely lacking.
“WE BELIEVE IT IS THE CHALLENGER BRANDS, THE DISRUPTORS, WHO SHINE A LIGHT ONTO POSSIBILITIES BY TAKING URGENT ACTION THAT ADDRESS TOXIC HABITS. WE EVOLVED FROM NATURE, AND NATURE MUST BE RETURNED TO THE TOP OF THE HIERARCHY. FOR THE VIVO FAMILY – THAT RECONNECTION ALL STARTS WITH FEET.” GALAHAD CLARK, CEO, VIVOBAREFOOT.
It’s a journey. We’re not all the way there yet – but we hope you’ll share our excitement.
COP26 is a vital opportunity for humanity to take climate conscious decisions and to live in far greater harmony with all biomes, all ecosystems. Here’s to re-connection.