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Ethics


At ESSEN, we’re creating a brand that upholds a more conscious pace and process – where decisions are made sustainably and with attention to every detail. The result is a collection of shoes that are aesthetically beautiful, supremely comfortable and ethically made.

Slowing Down The Fashion Cycle

ESSEN was founded as a response to a fashion cycle that overproduces more than it carefully crafts, chases trends more than it determines classics, and wastes more than it sustains. At ESSEN, we’re slowing down that cycle so that we can focus on making every piece essential.  

Keeping A Small Footprint 

Reducing waste is something we strive to do at every point in the process. We cut our raw materials as tightly as possible, using as much as we can. This allows us to keep our footprint small your footprint savvy.

Our new styles are produced through a pre-order model. That means we research what new styles and colours to invest in, and produce only what we sell. It allows us to minimise waste and over-production, and to use our resources smarter. This means lower production costs per pair, so the price can stay smart too.

We only work with high-quality materials from low-minimum suppliers, reducing waste through small-batch production runs. We source as much of our leather as we can aniline and chrome-free, which aesthetically makes them perfectly imperfect – showing subtleties, density and depths that vary beautifully pair by pair.

Because our shoes are handmade and using traditional artisan techniques, any imperfections are part of the beauty of the leather and illustrate the true craftsmanship of the shoe. Those techniques are used in our Italian tanneries as well, resulting in soft, buttery leather that allows our craftsmen to work their magic – exploring the folds and textures of the material. Finally, they burnish and polish it to bring out its character and make every shoe one of a kind.

The best shoes in the world are made through generations of craftsmen in Italy, Portugal and Spain, so that’s where we went to create our shoes. We were careful about how we sourced suppliers, and are fortunate now to work with the best shoe factories in the world – the same ones that produce much of the footwear for luxury brands. 

The expert craftsmen in our factories have been making shoes for generations, and bring heart and expertise to every pair we make. From leather selection, to engineering the lasts, to hand finishing, our entire range of styles are produced by people who care. They’ve become our friends and are involved in every point in the process, sharing stories and advice at their kitchen tables.

To that end, we are invested in making sure their craft is compensated accordingly, and are invested in giving continuous, well-paid work. We will never switch to cheaper alternatives. Go inside our factories to see how your shoes are made here.