Business can be a tool for good.

Made to Fray: Biodegradable Espadrilles From Industry Of All Nations

Made to Fray: Biodegradable Espadrilles From Industry Of All Nations

To find a company that champions the highest ideals of slow commerce, look no further than Los Angeles-based clothing and design studio Industry Of All Nations. Founded in 2010 by brothers Fernando, Juan Diego and Patricio Gerscovich, IOAN aims to relocate the manufacturing of basic goods back to the regions where the products and materials originate.

From indigo-dyed cotton tees to natural-rubber sneakers, IOAN shows its customers with unflinching openness how its products are made and what impact they have on the environment.

Industry Of All Nations seems determined to show that you don’t have to make compromises when manufacturing consumer goods, and so far they’re proving to be right.

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One example of IOAN’s beautifully simple product line is the 100% biodegradable Sport EspadrilleOriginating in the Gerscovich’s home country of Argentina, the Sport Espadrille is made in collaboration with the 120-year old Rueda factory. Rueda has been making espadrilles -- better known as alpargatas in South America -- since 1895 with little variation to the design or manufacturing process.

Made from cotton canvas uppers and woven jute soles, IOAN’s Sport Espadrilles are cheap, comfortable, and environmentally friendly.

When they’ve outworn their useful life, the Sport Espadrilles can be tossed in a compost pile where they will soon begin to decompose. Given enough time, only the aluminum eyelets will remain.

Even better, for every pair of Sport Espadrilles it sells, IOAN is supporting quality manufacturing jobs for Argentinians. By consciously teaming up with the century-old Rueda brand instead of cheaper factories in China or Southeast Asia, IOAN is sustaining the local economy in the  alpargatas country of origin.

From manufacturing to decomposition, the Sport Espadrille represents the beautifully balanced product life cycle on which Industry Of All Nations is staking its entire brand. It may be just a shoe, but it makes you wonder what else is possible if we only try.

Some may find it easy to ridicule IOAN and its lofty ideals, but the company’s early success shows it’s not only possible to manufacture “clean” products in the modern era -- consumers are beginning to demand it.

The Sport Espadrille and Faja belt are available in the Industry Of All Nations store.

The Happy Planet Index

The Happy Planet Index

AgLocal: Sustainable Meat, Simply

AgLocal: Sustainable Meat, Simply