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We love the natural world and are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that sustainability sits at the heart of our business.
When we launched in 2004, we knew we wanted to take a quality over quantity approach to production. We work with local artisans and makers to create pieces that are made to last. Our Goodyear welt soles sit at the heart of this—famous for their durability—and easy to re-sole, meaning customers can breathe new life into their pieces every few years.
We believe that for something to be well made, it needs to be made well. Our partners operate from small, independent tanneries and studios, across Tuscany, Portugal, and Spain. Lots of the families and artisans have been a part of our story from the beginning, growing symbiotically alongside us. We know and visit these factories every year, so we can be sure our makers work in happy environments that operate within EU employment laws.
We are passionate about keeping dying crafts alive. We work closely with the artisans, who have taught Penelope over the years, and we encourage age-old techniques, knowing that these are often more sustainable than newer ones.
The majority of our collection is made using the Goodyear welt™ construction, which ensures a longer lifecycle for the shoes, often 10 years or more, if cared for correctly. Goodyear welt™ construction allows for the shoes or boots to be entirely resoled.
The beauty of producing close to home means we don't need to order en masse. Surplus raw materials are re-purposed. You will often see a repeated design or material in our collections. We call these Waste-Not-Want-Not-Pieces.
Whilst we’re not perfect, we avoid using single use plastic as much as possible. We use biodegradable packaging and have been working on re-purposing ocean plastic into some of our fabric uppers. We are also currently experimenting with the best way to deliver a no single use packaging shipping process from end-to-end and hope to release it soon.
Making vegetable tanned leather is a natural process and one we love to include in our designs whenever possible. However, for some styles chrome tanned leather is more appropriate. To ensure this more modern production style meets our standards, we follow the leather working groups standards for ethical and environmental credentials of leather suppliers across the world and prioritise gold and silver rated tanneries.
Spain is the home of the brand with a strong Spanish equestrian heritage at the heart of it. The factories and workshops we partner with are all based in Spain and we source our materials as close to these factories as possible, using local tanneries and merchants in Italy and Portugal, to avoid unnecessary air miles. Our products then travel to London via road, not air, keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible.
Photography by Emma Hardy