6.13.2013

Ethical Footwear at Forever 21? Mel Sandals @ F21!

It has been rare that I've mentioned Forever 21 in a positive light on this blog for all obvious reasons.  (Like, #fastfashionmustdie and #FUandyourhaulvideo kind of reasons.)

But today is the day that changes!  Forever 21 has been carrying a capsule collection of Mel sandals.  Mel is the less expensive line of Melissa shoes.  Melissa shoes are made in a closed-loop, low-waste, decent labor standards facility in Brazil (for more info, see the Melissa listing on my I Shop page).

I was able to get a few shots of their capsule collection at the F21 in Nashville and here they are...

Mel @ f21

Mel @ f21

Mel @ f21


As you can see, the Marula sandal I originally got at Mooshoes is well represented here in a number of colorways.

I did still have concerns about the "recycle-ability" of these shoes.  The company says that they can be recycled so, having had prior emails gone unanswered, I tweeted @melissashoes asking where I could recycle my Mel/issa shoes in NYC and this is the answer:



I did look at NYC's recycling plastics guide (I keep it real over here) and it looks like PVC (which is what Melissas are made of) is a recyclable plastic, although its market rate is weak so not sure of the likelihood of it getting reused.  But the city will accept it and there is a chance!  So, good on ya, Melissa Shoes.  And I'll even throw out a "good on ya" for Forever 21 this time.

Now, I don't know if I will ever ever ever profile Forever 21 on this blog again but I guess lightning can strike twice?

8 comments:

  1. Love this post so much. Interesting to hear about the recyclability of Melissa shoes too.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I wasn't aware!

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  3. Sorry, I looked it up and I'm confused, how is it a closed loop if the company itself doesn't recycle the shoes? What are they like on a hot NY summer day? I've had a pair of plastic shoes before and they were kind of hard on my feet due to the sweating. these look airy for sure but still.

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    1. Milla! Good questions!

      I mainly use mine as rain shoes so it's usually not too hot. I have a pair of sandals and I wear them until the 80s or so but not when it's reaaalllly hot because they get sweaty and slippery although the flip flop versions they have likely wouldn't have that issue.

      Re closed loop - I believe the way they use the definition is that it's zero-waste within the factory because it's molded and there are no scraps from material cuts and that it is a recyclable product. Up until recently it wouldn't have been a recyclable product in NYC as the city only accepted 1's and 2's that were bottle-neck shaped only and it was only recently that they started taking any plastics again. So for areas that don't have that level of recycling - they aren't recyclable. And I do question how many people even make the jump from these shoes being "eco" and actually being recyclable. (Which is partially why I was posting about it.) I wish companies who have products that can have the potential to be recycled were clearer about the how, when and where. I know that's still happening with metals, even, much less textiles. NYC is pretty clear that anything more than 60% metal or so goes in the recycling bin and I've had disagreements with neighbors over that - they had no idea and thought it was wholly implausible. Such a long way to go.

      Here is a piece on trying to create better tea kettles - including reinforcing how recyclable: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/closed-loop-design-making-better-kettle

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  4. But let's get really, really real. The smell of Melissa shoes is out of this world. Like a scratch-and-sniff sticker on an A+ test that was handed to you right before the bell rings on a Friday. I hope that the Mels don't skimp on that weird plastic-y berry-y scent because that is what pushes "like" to "love", in my (obviously emphatic) opinion.

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    1. I think they did! I was trying not to make eye contact with anything else in F21 although I did try on a few sandals I don't remember pointedly smelling them. I can't imagine they would skimp on their signature scent.

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  5. I've been wondering about recycling Melissa shoes. I absolutely love the pairs I have. They are so comfy, smell great and are perfect for wet British summers. However I've always wondered how well their recycling claims would stand up when the time can to finally retire a pair.

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    1. Yeah, and I'm still not exactly sure since PVC doesn't seem to be all that desirable from a recycling market viewpoint, at least in NYC. Also, not all areas will take all plastics so people's mileage may vary on whether they can either go in with other municipally accepted plastics, much less whether they'll get recycled once they are accepted.

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