Eco Shoes: Plastic Style Meets Ethical Consumption

Melissa, a shoe company in Brazil, is taking plastic recycling to new fashion heights – heels for the environmentally conscious! If you loved the “jellies” sensation of the 80s, you will adore Melissa’s new eco friendly styles – Jellies, all grown up!

All of the company’s shoes are made out of MELFLEX plastic, which is hypo-allergenic, cruelty-free, void of animal products, and recyclable. The eco fashion footwear label also pays their employees above average wage, and their benefits are exemplary. When a shoe can’t be sold from a previous season, the old shoes are melted into new styles. About 99% of their industrial waste is also recycled including painting residues, production water and PVC. Melissa’s designs are also very affordable, offering high-end eco chic to the economical consumer.

“There is nothing more ‘ordinary’ than a Coca-Cola bottle or a can of Campbell’s soup, but properly portrayed in Andy Warhol’s work, and it became refined pop art. We use similar reasoning behind Melissa’s strategy. Why should modern design and taste only be characterized by expensive products for the wealthy classes?” said Edson Matsuo, Melissa’s creative director.

Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier collaborated with Melissa to create a recyclable cigarette-heel stiletto, offering stylish and sexy without the carbon waste. The strappy sandal has just been released this month, and is available in beige, black, caramel, tangerine and lime for $320 exclusively at Bergdorf Goodman.  

“Working with Melissa has been a coup de pied à la mode," Gaultier said in a statement. "I've enjoyed the challenge of creating a high-heeled plastic shoe with all the values of my design ethos."

JPG isn’t the only high-end designer that Melissa has worked with to create their trashion footwear.  The environmentally conscious company has collaborated with big fashion names such as Thierry Mugler, Zaha Hadid, and regularly works with Vivienne Westwood as an ongoing project.  The Vivienne Westwood Anglomania collaboration, Lady Dragon, offers green fashion gurus a plastic, peep-toe heel with a bold cookie-cutter heart (as seen on the label of Westwood’s 1987 “Love” Jacket).

"The most amazing thing about this partnership was to be able to create modern products of a very high quality, but at affordable prices," says Westwood. Available in peach or lemon with black hearts or pearly white, pastel blue, or dove grey with red hearts, the shoes only cost £80, roughly $120.

Melissa has recently become a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Business Service Network (CFDA). CFDA is a non-profit trade association that leads many fashion-based initiatives, supports development and scholarships, and provides solutions about strategic development within the industry.

Steven Kolb, executive director of CFDA tells WWD, “Melissa has mostly collaborated with international designers and artists. They have been really amazing, but we think adding an American voice with CFDA now involved will push Melissa to new creative heights.”

Who would have thought that jellies would drop their blister-giving, shoes-for-kids reputation and hit the pages of top fashion magazines everywhere? Melissa shoes are on top of this season’s eco fashion list; the sustainable company’s designs will be sure to make your friends green with envy.

Check out Melissa's eco friendly shoes at www. melissaplasticdreams.com.