The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Naya Shoes are pretty darn cute. (And green!) February 6, 2010

Filed under: Food,Green fashion,Places to go,Products — Alden @ 2:33 am
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I had the pleasure of being invited to a Tweetup last week,  at a little bar called The Ten Bells on the Lower East Side. It was to showcase a new line of shoes called Naya.

First of all, let me just say that I have to get back to The Ten Bells. You could walk past its unassuming front several times (like I did) because there is no sign out front. But once you get inside, it’s welcoming. Small, but welcoming. Oh, and it serves organic wine and and what looks like delish food, including local cheeses from raw milk. When I walked in out of the softly falling snow, it was bustling with patrons sitting around the bar and gossiping over the tables. Impressive for a Tuesday, for sure.

At the back of the bar, I was welcomed by representatives of the brand, who showed me some styles. To be honest, a few were a little dowdy – no stilettos here. But once I learned that Naya is the daughter of Naturalizer, that made a little more sense. Still, in the dim light of the bar, I picked out a few shoes that I will be coming back for next fall, like a pair of chocolate brown, knee-high boots with a medium heel and tassels.

Honestly, it’s nice to find even passably pretty shoes that are eco-friendly. Last time I tried an “eco-friendly” store, it was vegan. I hate vegan shoes. They’re just plastic fakes with an extra 75 bucks tacked on. Also, I have very high standards for my shoes as far as aesthetics. Naya shoes just about make it there. Pretty, not drop dead, but pretty.

So here are their green credentials (full disclosure, I’m quoting from their marketing materials.)

  • Chrome-free or vegetable-tanned leathers
  • Natural, organic or sustainable fabrics
  • Heels made from sustainable bamboo
  • Biodegradable latex foam cushioning
  • Natural cork and rubber footbeds
  • Outsoles made with recycled materials
  • Nickel-free metal buckles
  • Recycled paper boxes
  • Water soluble glues and cements

Not bad, right?

Bottom line: I think I might get their white shoes (shown above) for spring. I’m always looking for comfy white leather summer sandals that look nice. And when fall comes… I’ll be in the stores looking for those boots!

Naya is currently available at,, and select Naturalizer stores. Later you’ll find them at Zappos, Piperlime, and Nordstrom.


Vegan shoes. Ethical or a rip-off? November 1, 2009

Filed under: experiment,green angst,Green fashion,Places to go — Alden @ 11:56 pm
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I like leather. I like how soft and smooth and nice it feels on my feet as it hugs them on a cold day. I like the way it looks when it’s stitched with heavy thread and studded with metal rivets. It seems substantial, like it’s a real investment in my wardrobe that will last long enough for me to hand it to my daughter some day.


I also like fur. I like the way it softly caresses my neck and shields me from an icy wind. I have fond memories of snuggling into my mother’s wolf and rabbit floor-length fur coat. When she wore it, it meant we had a special night out to the ballet, to a play, to the symphony. It meant a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant all the way in Baltimore or D.C. – or when I was even younger – the Nutcracker in Raleigh. I associate fur with a new flouncy dress and a special trip to New York to see The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera, and eating from the biggest buffet I’d ever seen at the Plaza.


This is why it was a real stretch for me to seek out and go into a vegan shoe shop called Moo Shoes on the Lower East Side. I have no moral issues with fur or leather. But I figured that if eating less meat is good for the environment, buying less leather must be too.


First, let me make something clear. I would never be a vegan. Vegans say pearls and silk are bad. I never heard of torturing silk worms to make them produce more silk. They also can’t eat dairy products. That’s just silly. Someone in Germany even asked me if it’s true that a vegan will wait for an apple to fall off the tree before they will eat it. Ummm, hope not!


So here I am at Moo Shoes, trying to be open-minded. Moo Shoes is such a stereotype in action. They had No Meat! buttons piled in bins, posters, stickers everywhere. The girls behind the counter were surly and unkempt. Not exactly inspirational fashion plates. Though I did enjoy petting one of the two cats.


I picked up a pair of booties, the ones in the picture above, to try on. Look closely at the picture. If you have ever experienced leather shoes with thick stitching and stacked wooden heels, you can tell just from the picture that these are not high-quality shoes. They didn’t feel high-quality either. When forced my feet into the plastic casing, they chafed against the inside. The shoes felt brittle. In short, they felt like $30 shoes from J.C. Penny’s junior section.


But I rationalized. “If they’re cheap,” I thought, “I can wear them and wear them out and it doesn’t matter! I’ll save money and save the environment. ” So I turned the box around to look at the price.


$129. Seriously? I yanked the shoes off my feet, put them back in the box, and marched out of the store. The shop girls who were ignoring me, mostly, seemed happy to see me go. They might have noticed my trusty black leather purse that I’ve carried for four years. It still looks fashionable and perfect.


I suppose they were just jealous.


If you want to read a laughable article where someone extolls the virtues of vegan fashion (you can still wear denim bustiers apparently, thank GOD) check out this site.


Hippie Shoes July 27, 2009

Filed under: Products,Tips — Alden @ 12:48 am
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My trusty Jack Rogers!

My trusty Jack Rogers!

I have a wonderful pair of Jack Rogers. If you have never experienced them, go out and buy a pair.I don’t feel bad telling you that, because you will wear them a million times.  Mine come in cream and white, but gold or silver will do. I have lime green ones too, but for obvious reasons I don’t wear them very frequently. They are leather by the way. I never said I was a vegan.

They match everything! They are dressed down AND dressed up. I bought them at the beginning of junior year, and they took me through the warm days of fall, then welcomed me back Spring Term. They carried me well as I criss-crossed Paris last summer. With the addition of heel cushions, they became perfect. Nary a blister, or every an unfashionable foot.

As I walked to work last week, I tripped on a crack. (Apparently I shuffle. I am working on this.) I recovered and attempted to smoothly walk on, like nothing had happened. Unfortunately, though my body was intact, my left Jack was not.

Horror! The leather toe piece was hanging by a thread, like a tooth wrenched painfully from the mouth. I limped to work and limped back home, trying to keep my dignity intact.

My first thought: I have a Nordstrom gift card. No problem.

But wait! What kind of hippie would I be if I sprung so quickly to buy new things? I took it to a local shoe fixer, and with a quick nod, he took my baby, and told me to come back in a half hour.

Well, I have better things to do than wait around on Broadway. When I came back the next day, he handed it back to me, completely unimpressed with his own handiwork. It was only $8, while a new pair would have been $100. I wore them happily this morning to brunch, wandering all the way down to 102nd. Happy day!