When the interviewer asked where she “would use vegan leather”, the term used was wrong. When answering “absolutely not”, Australian designer Vanissa Antonious showcased her clear idea. The stylist excluded the use of synthetic alternatives to leather for her footwear brand Neous. Surely a matter of style, but also having to do with much more. Starting with sustainability: “It’s just not good for the world”, she explained in an interview to theweek.co.uk.
Vanissa Antonious launched her luxury footwear bran in 2017. Since then, Neous has climbed the ranks to become one of the preferred options for buyers on Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, Harrods and Mytheresa. The brand is enjoying the same success with its handbags, a new segment that the stylist recently decided to enter. How? Thanks to a recognizable soul. A clean style, she explains, that uses the discrete shapes of archistar. It’s enough to see the Saturn bag to understand the concept, as it’s the perfect example of marriage between the two arts.
Antonious began working on its first collection in 2016. “I knew I wanted everything to be 100% made in Italy – she explained to theweek.co.uk -. For me, this is synonymous with quality and craftsmanship”. And so, thanks to a friend, she found a leather supplier that had worked with Salvatore Ferragamo in the past and thus one that guaranteed the maximum quality for the material. “If I’m honest, I was pretty lost at the beginning – she confessed -, but the more you talk to people who share a similar passion, the more opportunities present themselves”. Starting with a 10,000 pounds budget, the designer put Neous in place. Not much, maybe, but her products were noticed right away and began to show up inside the most trafficked stores of London. After that, the web also came into context.
Year after year, Antonious is gaining experience, reducing costs and investing in sustainability. Even at the expense of some (debatable) aspects. “We’ve reduced our leather consumption and introduced many new fabrics into the collections such as organic cotton, hand-knitted woven yarns and recycled nylon”. The stylist categorically excluded that sustainability will mean using vegan “alternatives” to leather. Those are synthetic materials. That’s just not good for the world she points out -. At Neous we use leathers that are a by-product of the meat industry. Our tannery uses 100% renewable energy too. At the end of the day, we want to create durable items that will be cherished and last the test of time.”
Images from neous.co.uk
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