Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Designer Spotlight: Starring Marion Hanania of Good Guys Don't Wear Leather

I stumbled upon vegan shoe brand Good Guys Don't Wear Leather a couple of weeks ago when I was beginning my search for a pair of spring booties. Though vegan leather isn't a necessary condition when it comes to my choice of footwear, I became momentarily obsessed with the brand's imitation suede booties, loafers, and brogues that I made it my business to meet up with its vegan founder and designer, Marion Hanania, when I was in Paris. (I've also seriously wondered the viability of veganism in France given that the typical French meal is comprised of meat, dairy, and eggs. Quiche Lorraine, anyone?)

Marion is the type of person who exudes creativity. When I met her, she was wearing an OshKosh denim jumper that not many people over the age of five can pull off. Whenever I meet someone successful in a creative field, I always want to know how they got to where they are now, which in Marion's case, is exhibiting her Fall 2014 line at the Don't Believe the Hype exhibit in the Tuileries.

She's a lifelong Parisian whose creative juices have been flowing since a young age. Proof: she has always loved to draw and her grandmother was a fashion designer. Now 33, Marion studied fashion design at L’√©cole Duperr√©, a fashion school in Paris, and started her own company after winning a contest for which she could design anything of her choosing. She explained that though she was initially drawn to clothing, she wanted to try her hand at something new, so she opted for footwear. Before launching Good Guys two and a half years ago, she spent almost ten years working as a freelance shoe designer for fashion icons like Isabel Marant. (She isn't responsible for the wedge sneaker though.)

She started Good Guys out of a desire to bring something new to the shoe market: unisex vegan shoes. The shoes look and feel like leather and suede, but they're made of breathable microfibers, canvas, and natural rubber. She likes to keep her styles basic but is always on the hunt for the newest and most animal-friendly materials.

When I asked her my hard-hitting question of how one could be a vegan in France, she didn't have much to say except that it's pretty hard. As for her shoes, she wasn't sure how they'd first be received in France, but we can assume quite well because they're currently front and center in the windows of Colette. I'm planning on making the Duke bootie (below) my spring shoes once I get myself over to MooShoes on the Lower East Side to snag a pair.

Check out Good Guys' e-shop here, and its bumpin' Tumblr ova here.

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