From a few designs to an impressive men’s collection, from launching a ladies’ collection to laboring towards the collection to grow, from educating about animal-free leather to acquiring a PETA-approved cruelty-free certification, this blog has followed ‘Senso Vegetarian Shoes’ journey and seen them achieve new heights by sheer commitment to a cause. It all started in 2012 from a single store in Mumbai and now, Senso Vegetarian Shoes is all set to expand into many other cities. What’s admirable is that they have never wavered in their commitment to safeguard the ‘right to life’ of animals, an ethic central to their business and which makes them extraordinary.
This blog heartily welcomes, Ritu, Director of Senso Vegetarian Shoes, to share their story and enlighten us on the soul and the essence of the company.
In Conversation with Ritu, Director, Senso Vegetarian Shoes
Vegan India!: Thank you so much for consenting to this interview with the Vegan India! blog. It is heartening to know that your company is steadfast on ethical values. Please tell us the motivation behind founding Senso Shoes.
Ritu: Senso is the brainchild of two vegetarian friends and the company was formed to give vegetarians an alternative to leather products. People usually expect great quality and durability from leather products, and insist on buying “100% genuine leather”, without realizing the cruelty endured by animals to produce them.
Our brand aims to reverse that mindset by offering high quality, fashionable footwear that is against animal cruelty. We believe that you don’t need to sacrifice on quality or durability if you go animal-free.
|The Senso Team|
Vegan India!: Many do not know the dark secrets of the leather industry and take pride in saying it’s “genuine” leather/shoes/accessories. Please comment at what costs the “genuine” leather is made available.
|Poster courtesy: pxleyes.com|
Vegan India!: It is a notion that “genuine” leather is one, more durable and two, fashionable. Thirdly, many consider “genuine” leather as a status symbol. Please tell us what you would say to counter each of these three viewpoints.
Ritu: I would say leather is more durable, but only if you take extreme care. You can’t let it get in water, and if it’s “genuine” leather it will have a strong smell. “Genuine” leather will also cost you more.
As for fashion, I don’t think it’s limited to animal leather products. There are different materials that can be used to create fashionable footwear. So going leather-free doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style.
I guess leather is considered as a status symbol because of its price tag. Although, I really believe that we are paying a much higher price for leather products than the monetary value. It’s senseless, the cruelty endured by animals to produce these products.
Vegan India!: Many would be curious to know what “vegetarian” shoes and accessories are. Please tell us what cruelty-free or animal-free raw materials Senso Shoes uses in making shoes and accessories, and how they are procured.
Ritu: For us, “vegetarian” means that our products are 100% animal-free. Most of our footwear is designed using polyurethane. This material is versatile, lightweight, resilient, comfortable, and long-wearing.
In terms of style and fashion, polyurethane is exceptionally disguised to offer the same look and feel of high quality leather. This innovative material has a tough exterior; while maintaining a soft and springy interior to cushion your feet.
|Some Senso designs from the men's formal shoes collection|
|Some Senso designs for women|
Vegan India!: Many western as well as Indian designers have begun to denounce animal leather for making shoes, accessories, and garments. In India, the Fashion Design Council of India has announced the Fashion for Freedom Boycott Bill to encourage vegan/vegetarian fashion. As emerging players in the market, as a company, have you felt an impact of these developments on your clientele base? How has the response to Senso Vegetarian Shoes been so far?
Ritu: It’s great that people are becoming more aware of what they are wearing and how it’s made. Earlier, being a vegetarian was limited only to our dietary habits; however, now people realize that it’s a lifestyle. There is more to it than the food you eat.
The Bill is a great step in allowing people to make conscious fashion decisions; however it hasn’t really impacted us. I think there are very few companies that cater to vegetarians, and I can’t think of many that are 100% animal-free. Whenever people hear of us, they are really glad to know that they now have a choice, which they didn’t earlier.
The response to our products has been great thus far. We are still getting the word out and trying to associate with organizations that promote vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. I am really glad to tell you that PETA has approved us as a Vegan brand, and this has helped in maintaining our credibility as a 100% animal-free organization.
Also would like it if you could include our contact details, in case Vegan India! readers have any questions or would like to visit the store. Please see our details below:
Senso Vegetarian Shoes
Customer Service: +91-22-25611997, +91-22-25611998
Location: Shop No.1, Moti Nagar, LBS Marg,
Mulund West, Mumbai – 400080
Landmark: Next to Nirmal Lifestyle Shopping Mall
Please note: Many designs from Senso Vegetarian Shoes are available at the online store on the website. You can enter the code, vegan01, to avail a 15% discount on the merchandise you select. The Senso collection also comprises an animal-free range of belts for men and purses for women.
|Poster courtesy: PETA|
You can also read one of our previous stories, Who Pays For Your Leather Shoes? to learn more about the “genuine” leather industry and how to buy animal-free leather.