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Insecta Shoes

How are deadstock fabrics helping the fashion industry to be more sustainable?

How are deadstock fabrics helping the fashion industry to be more sustainable?

When we sold our first pair of Insecta shoes over 6 years ago, we were equally excited and frightened. We had so many questions and doubts swirling over our thoughts. How will we be able to keep up with demand? Will we be able to differentiate ourselves from other shoe brands? And our favourite, the pièce de résistance, how will we stand up to our peers and fight the industry?

As many of you know, the fashion industry is one of the most resource dependent and polluting industries in the world. In what ways, may you ask?

Well for starters, cotton makes up about 90% of all the natural fibres within the textile industry. The cotton fibre grows from the cotton plant, and as all plants do, they require water - lots of it. To put it into perspective, to create 1 kilogram of cotton requires 10,000 litres of water!

Why is the fashion industry among the highest polluters of the world? According to the World Bank 17-20% of the world’s industrial water pollution is caused by the fashion industry.

How so? Mostly through the dyeing and treatment processes of garments, with water also being used to remove the excess dye in fabrics. The chemicals from these dyes usually make their way back into freshwater sources.

And to make matters worse, several million tons of textiles are sent to landfills every year. In the US alone, 11 million tons of textiles are disposed of.

Why are these textiles sent to landfills? There are several reasons for this, varying from the fashion houses ordering too much fabric or not dyeing a fabric the right colour or textile mills holding onto fabrics that were never sold. 

We wanted to challenge this. We wanted to be different and offer solutions to these problems. Enter deadstock fabric.


Deadstock fabric is essentially these leftover fabrics from a textile mill or a fashion house, but repurposed instead of tossed. For the reasons mentioned above, these fabrics are tossed not because they’re damaged or stained but mainly because there is an over abundance of them. It is important to note here that these fabrics have never been used, it’s what’s called pre-consumer waste. We rescue these fabrics from being thrown in landfills and turn them into the beautiful uppers for our shoes. 

We source these fabrics in a place in Sao Paulo called ‘Banco do Tecido.’ We usually go once a month, where we bring scraps from our own production and with this we receive a credit to “purchase” other fabrics. Once we make our selection, the fabric can be used by approximately 30 pairs of shoes - a limited production of sorts. You can always trust us to carefully seek and source exceptionally high quality fabrics.

This is the scenario we set out from day one. We wanted to diminish the excessiveness and wasteful nature of the fashion industry and we get to do this when we use deadstock fabric within our production.

Instead of these fabrics being tossed to landfills we use them for a different and new purpose. We get a beautiful fabric without adding to the production cycle, we diminish our role in polluting the world, the landfills are less packed, and we are able to create limited edition one of a kind shoes for you. And as a bonus, you get to feel good knowing you were all a part of this.

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The Amazon fires

The Amazon fires

The Amazon fires. There are so many feelings and emotions to process: overwhelmed with the current numbers of climate change; frustration on the emphasis of profits over sustainability; angered by the lack of viable priorities given to our natural environments; burdened by the lack of leadership in our current political climate; depressed about the state of our planet; to name a few.

It is easy to give up, but we strongly encourage you not to.

We wanted to take this opportunity to shed some light on the history of fires in the Amazon.

In the last 50 years, one-fifth of the Amazon has been cut and burned in Brazil. That is about 300,000 square miles (or about 777,000 square kilometres). That is the equivalent in size of two Californias. The years during 2002-2006 were one of the worst years of deforestation. There was a decade of decline following that, but has been slowly increasing once again since 2012. Moreover, within the first months of 2019, deforestation doubled compared to the previous year, according to INPE (The National Institute for Space Research).

Why have there been such vast amounts of land being cut and burned since the mid 1970s? The answer is due to agribusiness, namely livestock raising and more recently soybean plantations. To put it into perspective and to show why ranchers and farmers in Brazil are so aggressive in attaining more land from the Amazon: Brazil is the largest beef exporter in the world, accounting for 19% of the world’s beef. Similarly, Brazil is the second largest producer of soybeans accounting for a staggering 30% of the world’s production. As a side-note, 80% of soybeans are processed for meal, and from that: 97% is used as animal feed (to feed livestock) while the remaining 3% is used for human consumption (soy milk, tofu, etc). 

To conclude, agribusiness is 25% of Brazil’s GDP and it’s usually the engine that drives our economy.

So now you must ask yourself, why is the Amazon so important? Aside from it being one of the most biodiverse and largest rainforest in the world, just within the Brazilian borders it spans a total area the size of India. Secondly, the Amazon behaves like a carbon sink - the process of “removing” carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Plants require CO2 for photosynthesis, much of this carbon dioxide is transferred to the soil when the plant dies and decomposes. When a forest is drastically cut, the carbon dioxide is “released” from the soil/plants and into the atmosphere.

So what is the solution? We need a big picture, “landscape approach” towards this issue.  We need to have all four actors involved: governments, businesses, farmers, and communities (that’s you).

This is more than just a fire in one of the most important and largest rainforests in the world. This is a global seismic shift from the status quo to a mindset of common sense. And through this change, we are unfortunately suffering from lack of strong leadership. Leaders that are willing to step up for the long haul. Who have the vision to understand how choices and policies made today will have positive impact in 5,10, even 50 years down the road. We are 1/4 piece of the puzzle. We wrote above how all actors have to be actively involved. We are the business that care. We’re not greenwashing and using sustainability as a buzz word. We need others to care as much.

Inform yourself, read more, get involved. Be more responsible in your consumption. Try to reduce your animal-based diet as much as you can. Vote consciously. Shop responsibly. Support causes you believe in. Make your voice heard. Be the change. 


With love,

Insecta

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Sustainable Travel

Sustainable Travel

The most sustainable trip is a staycation. 

We travel for many reasons. To escape our lives. To break from routine. To be different and carefree.

And all of these can be accomplished from anywhere. While it’s amazing to hop on a jet plane and watch sunsets from new mountaintops or sipping wine beachside, not everyone has the budget or time. And let’s get real, airplane travel has a pretty high carbon footprint.

So with that in mind, why not a staycation?

Here are our 5 tips on how to have the perfect staycation - wherever you are!

Tip #1:

Unplug. Turn your regular routine in a new direction. Go for a long morning walk/run. Take an hour or two to eat breakfast. Leisurely read at your own pace. Don’t check work emails and keep your phone off.

Tip #2:

Indulge in a cleaning service. If staying at your home, how about hiring a maid service to professionally clean your home. This will automatically make your place feel more hotel-y and will also diminish the need for you to clean your space. You’re on vacation remember?

Tip #3:

Be intentional. Decide what type of time you want - relaxation, adventurous, gourmand, tourist in your own city, etc. While a staycation does not require hefty planning, figuring out how you want to spend your time will help you enjoy the days much more. A relaxing staycation, could include a spa day with massages or mani-pedis, a new meditative exercise class. Adventurous staycation, could include indoor rock climbing, axe-throwing, kayaking on the lake, and so much more.

Tip #4: 

Set a budget. After having planned what kind of staycation you want (tip #3), try setting a budget on how much you are willing to spend. This will help set your day better, and will also give you total vacation vibes - because we’re always budgeting while on vacation, amirite?

Tip #5:

Take a day trip. Is there a spot near where you live that you’ve always wanted to check out? It could be a conservation park, ski resort, day long spa retreat, or simply a neighbouring town you’ve always been curious about. Now’s the chance. Also by going during your staycation you avoid the weekend rush. We also suggest taking a bus or train that way you can relax while heading there as well.

The bottomline: make an effort for your staycation. Don’t fall into the trap of having one because a) you couldn’t afford a jet-set experience or b) you couldn’t get the full time off. It is very possible to break from your daily routine and be carefree in your own city. Visit those museums or restaurants you’ve always been curious about but never could fit in your busy schedule. And truthfully, staying in a hotel in your own city gives you a completely new perspective. And that’s what a vacation is all about, right? 

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5 of our Summer Bestsellers

5 of our Summer Bestsellers

Get your wishlist ready! Here are our top 5 bestsellers for the summer. 

Planetas - have you ever had the galaxy on your feet? 

Flor do Sol Papilio - sunflowers, ‘nuff said. 


Benita - versatile, comfy, breezy sandals. Could a more perfect summertime shoe exist?

Poá Agulha Oxford - polka dots are as timeless as time itself. 

Gabriela Oxford - you can never go wrong with the classic floral red roses.

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What sets our innovative insoles apart?

What sets our innovative insoles apart?

Bzzz ..it’s the beehive shape!

vegan shoes made from recycled plastic super comfortable

You tell us time and time again how comfy Insectas are. From “it’s like a massage for my feet” to “I feel like I’m walking on clouds!”. We wholeheartedly agree, Insectas are comfy af.

So what makes them so comfy? Well here’s a bit of a humblebrag: it’s due to our innovative and cutting-edge beehive design. 

Every one of our insoles are patterned with a cushy mini-beehive imprint. With roughly 6-10 mini beehives throughout the insole. So instead of a flat insole, ours is textured giving the sensation of a foot massage. 

vegan shoes made from recycled plastic super comfortable

But our innovative design doesn’t stop there. Our insoles are made out of recycled fabric scraps (used to make the uppers) and recycled foam/recycled plastic. This means that the fabric surplus from our production chain produces new insoles. No waste and no design errors! #stepintoacause

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Eco-gentrification: Is Living Greener Getting Inaccessible?

Eco-gentrification: Is Living Greener Getting Inaccessible?

Remember the stereotype of the "environmentalist" - the activist, who gets their hand dirty and lives with few luxuries? At some point along the way, a radical metamorphosis rolled in and that person became an unreachable being, with a perfect life and manicured Instagram feed. What happened to the roots of green life?

Suddenly it appears like you have to have all the trendy products (instead of reusing what you already have), eating and buying goods at expensive places (instead of learning recipes and making more visits to your corner store). This blogger who talks about maternity and sustainability talks about the tiny jars of a full year of waste:  "When I read some zero-waste blogs, I have the distinct feeling that I should give up. When a person tries to inspire me by showing a jar with a year's worth of garbage, I'm ready to give up before I even begin. This is so far from my reality that it discourages me from even considering the goal ". In other words, when it’s down to all or nothing, if you're not eliminating 100% of your waste, it’s better to not even try. And parents know that living completely waste free is a challenge far from being achieved.

Let's ponder over this: why would sustainability be synonymous with wealth when the poorest layers of society suffer most from the impacts of climate change? Access to a more sustainable lifestyle should be egalitarian and equal for all. It seems that the greener life has become something more "ego" than "eco."

A friendly brain tease came out of this post here, which talks about the eco-friendly lifestyle being turned void and elitist. Take a stroll through the city's most affluent neighbourhoods and you'll see green spaces, community gardens, bike paths, organic restaurants and a seemingly beautiful, clean world. But a mere few blocks away you can find a forgotten community; with limited waste collection, sanitation nor access to the most indispensable services. Could it be that bringing green spaces to certain regions of the cities could lead to the expulsion of the people whom one wishes to help? The answer is yes, sometimes it can. These improvements make the neighbourhood more attractive to new entrepreneurs, which eventually drive prices up, while simultaneously forcing low income groups to leave as they are unable to afford the area anymore. That is eco-gentrification in a nutshell.

So then, are improvements to the city bad? They are, if these improvements are superficial. What makes a city (a neighbourhood and a community, that is) more sustainable is to ensure quality of life and environmental quality - for example, bring basic sanitation to a needy neighbourhood, or ensure selective waste collection. This would be a "conscious anti-gentrification," as they mention here . 

It is because of this ‘superficial sustainability’ that many think that living more responsibly is more expensive. As mentioned here , it should not be. There is a misconception that living greener is about buying better products, when in reality being greener is buying less and being more aware. Some actions to take into consideration, such as striving to ensure proper waste collection in your home - recycling vs waste, eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables and enjoy food in a comprehensive manner.

Well, when we talk about it, we cannot leave the price of our shoes aside. We are looking for ways to bring more accessible products without undermining any aspect of our production chain. We understand how making sustainable products more accessible is a win, and this is what we are striving to achieve. ;)

We started the post talking about a new generation that makes sustainability inaccessible, but we cannot stop talking about the people who are there to help change this idea. Here and here we mention who these people are and what initiatives they’re doing that inspire us (worth reading!). Oh, and if you see the price of things as a barrier to veganism or to lead a greener life, our invaluable tip for you is to read this text that lays out the necessary information . 

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Composting: where there’s a will, there’s a way

Composting: where there’s a will, there’s a way

We can’t talk about reducing waste without talking about composting. That’s because it happens to be one of the simplest actions ever, and it can be done by anyone who happens to want to.

You can do it at home, at work, at school, or in a condo, and it's equally doable by those who have gardens and those live in apartment buildings. Simply by composting, we cut household waste practically in half, which, if you think about it, is an incredible feat. Just think about the tons of trash that gets sent to landfills every day (5 thousand tons in São Paulo alone) which could instead be transformed into fertilizer, returning rightfully to the earth rather than causing further environmental problems.

And starting is easy. You can reuse materials, or, if need be, buy ready-made compost. Get more tips in here.

If you want to compost, but for some reason you can’t do it at home or don’t produce enough waste and find your compost remains largely empty, know that there are many outside initiatives thinking about this for you. They all operate with a similar formula: you get a bucket to fill up during the week. Then, they come to you via bike, trade your full bucket for an empty one, and use the communally collected waste to transform into fertilizer for vegetable gardens.

If you're looking to start separating out your waste for composting, remember that:

  • You can include fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, egg shells, pea pods, lard, coffee filters, and tea bags (but don’t forget to remove any labels!).
  • Don’t include meat, dairy products, lemon, strong spices such as garlic, pepper and onions, bones, fish bones, medication, ashes, cigarette butts, liquids, oil, grease, paper towels, hygiene products, or animal waste.

 Learn more about composting here. Get involved and help us contribute to a greener city!

 

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Consumerism and Climate Change

Consumerism and Climate Change

Three years ago, in November 2015, all the nations of the world were in Paris for COP21 (Conference of the Parties). COP21 marked the first major breakthrough in terms of commitments made by major countries such as the United States and China to contain the advances of climate change.

Here we are with Donald Trump, a climate change denier, threatening to suspend the agreements signed by one of the biggest polluters during the conference in Paris. While simultaneously witnessing climate change day after day, degrees above degree, disaster after disaster, happening all over the world.

The truth is that COP21 is a step - albeit a very timid step - closer to what we need to stop climate change. The deal discusses clean and renewable energy, lessening the burning of fossil fuels and increasing the supply of solar and wind energy, but it does not address a crucial issue when it comes to climate change: consumerism.

Over half of the effects of the planet, including climate change, come from domestic consumption - that is, what you and the other 1.7 billion people who are part of the "consumer class" choose to consume every day. And at what speed and quantity.

Livestock is responsible for about 12% of greenhouse gas emissions  in the atmosphere, while the fashion industry accounts for around 10% of CO2 emissions . When we talk about climate change, we need to talk about our daily consumption - what we eat and what we wear is very relevant to climate change. The answer is we need to buy less.

For more than a year, Insecta Shoes and Modefica came together during one of the biggest days of global consumerism - Black Friday - to discuss the damage that over-consumption is causing in the world and for the lives of people who suffer most the effects of climate change.

On this Green Friday we shed light on studied data to reflect on your daily consumption and encourage you to engage in actions that address climate change beyond ethical buying and conscious consumption. It is time to reach out and strengthen the global movement of environmentalists fighting for this cause.

Of the 7 billion people in the world today, only 1.7 billion have access to consumer goods. This means that less than ¼ of the world's population is destroying the world's natural resources and leading to climate change.

As a society, we are transferring our desires and voids into consumption. The negative impacts of over consumption can already be measured in several countries.

As much as the government tells us that the solution is to shorten our showers, switch to LED lightbulbs and brush our teeth with the faucet off, the fact is that environmental impacts and climate change are much more related with the products we consume.

Climate change is a real problem and we are all living it now. However, climate change affect marginalized groups the most. Among them are women who are at the forefront of environmental problems.

If we continue to consume products at the same rate and burn fossil fuels as we burn today, the Arctic will melt mid-century. The melting of the Arctic will bring floods and droughts throughout entire cities.

This data is not meant to scare us away. Rather it gives the necessary push we need to start changing. Believing and engaging in conscious consumption is the first step, then it is necessary to become an activist, researching the problem and solutions, debating the issue and supporting organizations that are acting to reverse the effects of climate change.

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Grow pineapples & avocados in a jar

Grow pineapples & avocados in a jar

We’re taught to throw out “extraneous” parts of fruits and veggies all the time, but the reality is that many of them have nutritional value, some are gorgeous houseplants waiting to happen, and others can actually reproduce if you treat ‘em right!

 

Avocados

Before you throw out or compost your avocado pits, try sprouting ‘em instead for some uplifting household greenery. Simply peel your pits, wrap ‘em in a wet paper towel, toss ‘em in a bag, and wait patiently for the roots to grow! Once they do, stick ‘em in water and watch the pits crack to make way for gorgeous green leaves! New life. Your friends will say wow.




Pineapples

To grow a pineapple plant, all you need is a nice, fresh pineapple. Phase 1: Twist the leaves (or crown) off the top, making sure the area where the leaves come together stays intact. Strip off a few of the lower leaves to reveal the stem, and then turn it upside down to dry for a week. Phase 2: fill a large jar with water, making sure its opening is large enough for the pineapple crown to fit inside. Stick a few toothpicks into the crown to suspend it in the glass of water. Then, simply place the glass by a sunny window and wait for roots to sprout! When they do, follow further instructions for planting your sprouts in a pot of soil: eventually a whole new pineapple will grow from your labour of love!

 

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Vegan "Cheese" Bread

Vegan "Cheese" Bread

"Pão de queijo", cheese bread or cheese roll is a typical Brazilian recipe and a very delicious snack! This is a twist on the traditional recipe, which was veganized 🌱 

Try it out and tell us what you think?

Ingredients:  

  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 150 g cooked sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon flaked amaranto or quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

Instructions:

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180º / 356° (Fahrenheit).

2 - Mix all the ingredients until they stick together in one mass.

3 - Shape into balls and bake for 20 minutes. 

See the full recipe here:

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