Loughborough students are well known for donning their flip flops all year round, despite the deterring British weather. But how often does it cross your mind as to how and where your favourite footwear is made? Not enough judging by the multiple well-known brandings seen virtually tattooed across half the student population’s feet.
Fresh Cargo, a local fashion-based company, ran by 26 year old Rebecca Grey from Derby, has teamed up with the Kenyan based company, Maasai Threads. This collaboration sees the creation of ethically made Flip Flops right here in the midlands.
As the founder of Fresh Cargo, Grey is an inspiration to young businessmen and women alike, especially those embarking on fashion business ventures. Starting up the company at the age of just 24, she is one of the youngest ethical entrepreneurs in the UK. Her vision is to make fashion items that are fair and ethically sourced and, therefore, greatly beneficial to the communities.
To put the ethical notion into practice, the colourful flip flops are constructed using traditional hand crafted methods by Maasi Threads, which supplies multiple jobs and sustainable practices in Nairobi, where unemployment and poverty are high. The fashion-conscious flip flops are designed to be made from recycled tyres, denim, hemp and second-hand leather, as an environmental alternative to protect the animals that were being poached for their skins to make shoes. The second-hand leather is sourced from Nairobi markets; however, the majority of the beautifully made flip-flops do not contain leather, making the shoes vegan-friendly as an extra ethical incentive.
“All components of our recycled flip flops are sourced locally, I am a great believer in trade not aid and hope that national UK retailers will help us in the vision in creating further employment within this community,” said Fareed Khimani, co-founder of Maasai Treads.
The durability of the recycled flip flops was put to the test in 2008, which saw some of the Maasai People run the London and New York Marathons wearing the flip flops, helping to raise money for their community. That certainly puts those battered old Havaianas you see shuffling around campus to shame.
The sale of the flip flops also helps support The Born Free Foundation, which protects endangered wildlife in Africa, with 5% profits being donated per year. Loughborough University are keen to encourage and promote sustainable lifestyle, business and research, such as the positive work of Fresh Cargo’s work is promoting and can be found in 100 stores nationwide, as well as on the website.
The flip flips come in an assortment styles for both men and women, which are sold on Fresh Cargo so make the most of the limited time offer and enjoy 30% off your first purchase!