Behind The Brand: Think Mink. Think Vegan Shoes.

By Tiffany Paige of Green With Tiffany, Contributing Editor

“The luxury brands of the world should be vegan and sustainable to be truly current and fashionable!” -Rebecca Mink


Rebecca Mink is the founder, CEO, and designer of Mink Shoes. Her luxury “vegan” shoe line has no mink involved, unless of course it’s Rebecca herself, who has been hands-on during her 20+ years making her stunning vegan shoes. Her newest addition to the line will be offering the ability to make one-of-a-kind luxury shoes in Italy. Soon, clients like J-LO and Miley Cyrus won’t be the only ones to have custom-made Mink Shoes - you will be able to custom design your own shoe online! The process allows you to pick the heel, color, style and size you want. Then a unique system is used to ship shoe fittings for you to pick your perfect size in the privacy of your home, complete with a mini red carpet to walk.

I have known Rebecca for 10 years and her passion for luxury vegan shoes has not wavered, in fact it has deepened.


Green With Tiffany:

How old were you when you changed your diet? Was there a moment or event that you experienced that made you make your choice?


Rebecca Mink:

Yes – When I was 4 years old and at a birthday party, a young boy told me that hotdogs were made of dogs. I started to think about everything I ate and pulled it apart to prove it was not an animal and my animal liberation journey began.


GWT:

How long have you been a vegan?


RM:

My entire life.


GWT:

Now it's more mainstream, but when you started and launched Mink Shoes it was ahead of its time. How did you decide on making a luxury vegan shoe line?


RM:

I was a celebrity stylist in the year 2000 and able to get my clients in 100% vegan for the red carpet events, except for the shoes. I started making custom made-to-order shoes for my clients and the rest is history. MINK is still known today for custom and we are launching our made-to-order, available online September 30th!


GWT:

How have you persevered over the years to get to this point?


RM:

I love shoes, but I love animals more. The animals got me moving every day for the last 20 years. I am focused on shifting the paradigm of the way people see leather versus non-leather. MINK transforms the way people view vegan products. It is possible to have a product far superior in luxurious qualities without harming animals. It has become my lifework to offer luxury vegan fashion.



GWT:

How often do you travel to the factory in Italy and how closely do you work with them?


RM:

I wish I could go to the factory daily. It is where the magic happens and the shoes come together; my happy place. I was going over every 6 weeks from Los Angeles to Florence, Italy with my rescue pup, pre Covid. I have not been since March and I miss them all very much. They are like family. We have been using ZOOM for many years with an LA HQ and Italy HQ; we connect daily through the power of video conference.


GWT:

Is vegan leather different now than when you started? It seems to have been perfected over the years.


RM:

What is very different now are sustainable fabrics. When I started, they were not very strong weaves and they would grow in size and melt in the factory machinery! We see such a growth in the demand for vegan leathers now that the quality is outstanding. We ourselves are creating our very own leathers too. In the works – and will be out with more information in 2021! We have been connected to the highest tier textile mills for 2 decades and we are excited to create vegan leather together.


GWT:

There was a time when people would correlate luxury with leather. Like, “why would I pay top dollar for "faux" leather,” but that thinking is shifting. Why do you think it is taking so long to shift this paradigm? Who is the consumer driving this?


RM:

I believe fashion moves very slowly. I know most would say, with all the seasons and collections, it is a fast-paced business. Making luxury is not something you want to do fast. We take the time to test, perfect and make products worth making. Finally, people are looking at the entire integrity of a brand and how they make the items they spend on. This shift is awesome for sustainability. It allows people to use items longer, cherish them, pass them to their children and really take notice of the value of a great product. We at MINK think of animals, people and the planet when designing, creating and producing.

GWT:

I have the Bunny glitter ballerina flat and love it! Do you have a favorite shoe right now? Do I need the casual "Hippo" during Covid?


RM:

The Hippo is my go-to, dog-walking shoe everyday of my life. Highly recommended by all of our team as busy women on the go. The pandemic is shrinking the need for heels.


GWT:

What do you love most about what you do?


RM:

I love making clients’ Vegan shoe dreams come true!


GWT:

What are some goals you hope to achieve?


RM:

We look toward the future of making vegan shoes more available worldwide through collaborations, private labels and our own brand.


Photo Credit: Mink Shoes

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