By Courtney Gerring, Contributing Editor
What happens when three women are trying to search for the vegan Jimmy Choo? They create it! Meet Sylth | Virago, a vegan luxury shoe brand that has positioned themselves to reduce the carbon footprint and focus on ethical material sourcing, practices and partnerships. The brand is about wearing shoes that you not only feel good about, but that look good too, and is the brainchild of Athanasia Svec, Kyle Blackmon, and Danielle Goldman, who were all friends before deciding to join forces and disrupt the vegan leather footwear industry.
Sylth | Virago was founded in 2019 and is marrying two elements that very few, if any, have done in the vegan footwear industry: Vegan materials and luxury. The founders ensured that if they were going to launch it had to be done right, and with that they traveled to Italy and approached the best factories where some of the biggest brands are produced. The best part about the Italian factories is that they were excited to embark on the journey with Sylth | Virago, and understand that vegan and sustainable practices are the future. Kyle mentioned, “It’s always about trust: With one another, the product, and the common goal into the end result. We have been fortunate to find factories that believe in our product, and build relationships beyond just our footwear.”
When it comes to passion and drive, Athanasia states, “It started with the animals and it will always be about them. This is why I'm doing this. To prove that you can wear luxury without the use of animals.” There are so many reasons to launch a brand or feel passionate about something, and simply put Sylth | Virago was founded on the search for more luxury products that don’t use animals to create leather products. When you are passionate about an issue it’s great to see that come to life in a product and a brand, which we believe will start to create a movement.
The collection is unique and was designed as a set of footwear that a woman could wear for the entire year, as a way to cut back on waste and cost. The collection consists of a loafer, a pump, cute, ruched, mid-calf booties with a dramatic heel, and two tall OTK boot designs - one that is an easy pull-on for an everyday office/walking boot, and the other that is an essential party showstopper. “This collection represents what every woman can wear around the year, while maintaining that commitment to being in support of sustainable style,” states Kyle.
Rachel Zegler in Antigone
Sylth | Virago is creating a loyal following and have received positive feedback on their first ever collection, being featured in publications such as Harpers Bazaar and Maxim, in addition to being seen on celebrities including Carrie Underwood, Idina Menzel, Rachel Zegler, Chelsea Handler, Paula Abdul, and Aubrey Plaza.
Chelsea Handler in Antigone
Despite Covid setbacks after launching, they are moving forward swiftly and having recently wrapped up their first pop-up shop in Miami, are looking forward to further growth throughout the U.S. this year. In addition, the ladies currently have three new styles in prototype phases at the factories in Italy. Danielle mentions, “Our new styles will be a blend of some familiar silhouettes, and some new materials and designs that we are excited to introduce to the brand.” Looking ahead they are planning to slowly launch these throughout 2022, with exciting news that they are also dipping their toes into accessories with the launch of a belt. Belts are a major fashion statement and worn with a great pair of jeans and stunning Sylth | Virago footwear, the statement will be as ethical as it is stylish!
Already leading with their brand commitment to our planet with eco-friendly and organic materials, donations to tree planting organizations, carbon neutral shipping, and a subsidized repair policy to assist in keeping their products out of landfills, Sylth | Virago are increasing their sustainability promises. By partnering with waste management groups, the goal is to responsibly discard shoes to maximize reusable parts and minimize waste. Additionally, they are committed to workers’ rights and fair employment practices in their manufacturing process, and donate to animal welfare initiatives every month.
Finally, conscious fashionistas can strut their stuff in a beautifully designed, vegan footwear brand, that is as ethical as it is luxurious!
PC: Sylth Virago