After seemingly endless months spent barefoot at home, putting on a real pair of shoes feels like a revelation. One that is amplified when said shoes are sustainable, ethical, and from a Black-owned brand. Now enter: Buenos Aires-based brand Zou Xou.
Earlier this summer when we came across the brand, we quickly fell in love with the entire range of made-to-order, high-quality (but surprisingly affordable) shoes. However, it was their gorgeous Mary Janes that stole our hearts.
Classic Mary Janes, both heeled and flat, were all over the runways this season, and quickly emerged as the shoe to buy this fall. Somehow Mary Janes perfectly toe the line between trendy and timeless, hitting the right note of both nostalgia and sophistication, and we can't get enough. With that in mind, we decided to team up with Zou Xou designer Katherine Theobalds on a limited edition run of her Eugenia Mary Jane flat in InStyle Badass red.
"I honestly love Mary Janes because they make me think of protagonists from 90s films, whose style inspired me when I was a tweenager, like Dionne and Cher from Clueless, Leilana Pierce from Reality Bites, and the witches from The Craft," Theobalds said about the style. "I first added this style to my line because I wanted a flat style that felt informal enough to wear off-duty, but could be styled with a wide variety of other pieces."
Beyond making gorgeous shoes, what really drew us to Theobalds and Zou Xou was her sustainable, ethical production model. Every shoe is handmade by craftspeople in Argentina. There's generally a two-week lead time for orders, making these literally the opposite of fast fashion, and totally worth the wait.
"Before starting my line, I consumed fast fashion like everyone else," she explained. "But when I started my line, I was trying to make a product in small batches since it was self-financed. At the same time, I saw a lot of landfill being created while working in the fashion industry, and it never sat right with me. Starting this business and building relationships with craftspeople face-to-face has challenged me to tap into my higher self in understanding how the fast fashion industry is connected to structural inequality and climate change. Figuring out how to be a responsible maker has taught me how to be a more responsible consumer."
Theobalds added, "I hope the conversations we're all having about inequality will cultivate more awareness and better habits around consumption. I hope people become more selective about what they buy and shop with their new (higher) values."
Order the Zou Xou x InStyle Eugenia flat in Badass Red for $268 on ZouXou.com.