When it comes to fashion-charity collaborations, it's always a bonus when the goods produced are as high style as they are humanitarian. We were impressed when a nonprofit tapped a legendary cobbler to create a line of socially conscious footwear--and positively pumped when we saw how enticing it was.
Uwezo's repurposed cowhide shoes are the brilliant project of Empower African Children and renowned shoemaker Bata, who set out to design well-priced, rugged versions of classic styles to help fund education programs for orphaned tots in Uganda.
The shoes do double duty by helping feet in need of a stylish pick-me-up. The mottled patterns in the women's oxford ($225) give the city staple a straight-from-the-plains vibe, and the rich chocolate tones in the cowhide desert boot ($225) elevate the military shoe to handsome new heights. We particularly admire the foxy, spotted slip-on ($210), a playful twist on the kicks we wear to the market.
All aspects of Uwezo's production are community-supported and sustainable: Bata's eco-friendly factories in Kenya and Uganda employ local workers with fair wages, and profits directly benefit the charity and the Ugandan communities it supports.
In this case, the shoe most definitely fits.