The Little Green Dress - Best Foot Forward
by Natalie Bencivenga
June 24, 2020
There is nothing more stylish than wearing head-to-toe sustainable fashions. But it can be a challenge to find eco-friendly, affordable, chic footwear. Unless you could justify spending a month’s rent on Stella McCartney wedges, there were very few designers that were experimenting with well-crafted sustainable accessories up until recently.
Thankfully, the landscape is changing and Goatfeathers Boutique in Oakmont is at the forefront of this pivotal shift. Gianfranco DiPietro, owner of Goatfeathers Boutique, opened in the spring of 2017 with a mission to sell fashionably green shoes and accessories. “We found that there were a lot of vegan products that were affordable,” he said. “I’ve always been a big supporter of local artisans, too. Part of the fun of owning your own shop is that I can create and curate collections that can be both good for the environment, good for workers, and still be stylish.”
He believes that people are choosing more carefully how to spend their money and putting their resources towards local businesses whose visions align with their own — including a vision for environmental justice. “There is a lot of voting with your dollar. We want to work with local companies and companies around the world that are doing good work,” he added. For instance, he carries scarves from the Anchal Project, a 501 C-3 nonprofit fashion company based in India. The company uses pieces that reduce fabric waste and are made from eco-friendly low-impact dyes, vintage fabric and GOTS certified organic cotton.
“I know my customers want something unique, fashionable, and sustainable. They are smart with their money and want to invest in quality shoes, accessories, and handbags,” said DiPietro. Want a fab wedge for summer? Try his Azura Wedges which are 100 percent vegan leather with rubber soles priced at $114. Want something to run errands in? Check out Woolloomooloo sneakers which are made from sustainable merino wool and are 100-percent washable priced at $130. Need a pair that can get dirty? Why not put on a pair of Madeline Boots? “These are one of my vegan companies that I love,” he said. ‘The boots are a microfiber and stylish as well as water resistant.”
DiPietro, who went to design school, gets in on the fun, himself, making handmade jewelry for the shop. Currently, he is featuring shell earrings that he created and sourced from the beach. “They pair perfectly with the Anchal Project upcycled sari scarf.”
So is sustainable fashion here, well, to stay? “People really are pushing brands to promote and embody goodness. You don’t have to live in New York City to affect change, anymore. You can do it right here in your own neighborhood, one little shop at a time.”
Eco-friendly footwear may be a small step for each of us, but it’s one giant leap forward for sustainable fashion.