In southwest Europe, the Pyrenees mountains form a natural border between France and Spain but they have long united fashionistas the world over as the birthplace of that caszh-chic, Euro-stylin' warm weather staple: the the rope-soled espadrille and rubber-soled, lace-up alpargata (pronounced al-PARrrrgut[roll those Rs]-ah).
For the past two years, Guanaco Shoes of Argentina has been tweaking the alpargata to make this sock-less classic even more fun. Their version is crafted by hand in the mountainous region of Cordoba and features a strong, breatheable canvas upper plus a durable and eco-friendly rubber-based sole - they use lightweight and super-flexible Microtech™ which lasts 10 times longer than your typical rubber-hyrid sole. However, what really sets Guanaco apart is their fun and fresh aesthetic. Their palette is a blaze of bold brights like chili-pepper red, bubblegum pink, neon yellow and juicy lime; snazzy prints include zebra, leopard, polka dots and even the stars 'n stripes.
Although alpargatas are a South American fave, many - if not the majority - are made abroad. "After discovering that most of the world's alpargatas are now actually made in Asia," explain the founders of Guanaco, "we decided it was time to make it ourselves right here at home." And while charity begins at home, we do live in a global village which is why Guanaco plans to spread the love around. Project Guanaco is their initiative to bring people together and make the world a better place by having fans of their shoes vote annually for a community in need that Guanaco will then support.
Better living through shoes?! Um, sign me up!
For now, they're busy steppin' things up with their Kickstarter which launches on September 1, 2014 (Labor Day in the US) at 9am PST. The purpose is to raise the funds they need to bring their authentically-Argentinian canvas must-haves north of the border to the US. "Our mission is to make authentic and superior footwear at a price that everyone can enjoy," add the Guanaco guys, Maxi and Manu. "Our team creates every pair of shoes by hand, and with love. Everyone is well paid, and not only proud of the shoes they make, but proud to be a part of such a great family. From the lovely, fresh mountains near Cordoba, Argentina, and with love, we are proud to bring you our amazing shoes."
Doing good with fashionable flair is a signature move of the Folkspun fashion tribe. For more of my posts and podcasts on this tribe, CLICK HERE. If you're interested in finding out more about all of the fashion tribes I cover, START HERE.
- Lesley Scott