People will never stop shopping. It’s just the truth. As long as there are influencers on Instagram telling you what to buy, it will live on. People love to promote slow fashion and sustainable brands to help beat the problem, but that’s only half of the equation. The other half is overproduction, which is something that even slow fashion companies can’t seem to get right. Thankfully, there are direct-to-consumer brands shaking things up. Other companies could learn a thing or two from the slow fashion approach.
For those of you that may not be familiar with the phrase, direct-to-consumer means that the item is not made until it’s ordered. That’s not the norm for fashion brands. Typically, a brand will produce a set number of items, sell them, and then let them go on sale if they do not all sell. This has led to some high-fashion brands burning its excess of clothing. Yes, really. Even sustainable brands like Everlane have a problem with overproduction. It’s a real problem in slow and fast fashion.
Bucketfeet’s shoes were the first experience that I’ve had with the direct-to-consumer process. The brand makes just one pair of slip-on shoes. The catch is that each one of the patterns comes from a different designer. Designers come from all over the world and get a portion of every design sold. Think of it as freelancing for shoe makers. Designers are all over the globe and make ten times more for their direct-to-consumer approach than they do with fast fashion tactics, according to the brand.
“With a traditional inventory supply chain, brands inevitably end up with lots of product they can’t sell which ends up sitting in storage warehouses and in many cases, landfills,” Bucketfeet CEO and Co-Founder, Raaja Nemani says. “This made-to-order approach allows us to make each shoe at the time of the order, using only the materials required for that one product – we’re no longer producing thousands of units per style per season and hoping they sell.”
You’ll see tons of different prints as you scroll through the Bucketfeet website. None of them are actually made yet, though. The designer doesn’t start creating the shoe until you order it. The approach saves shoes from hitting the landfill, helps artists make more off of he designs, and ultimately saves the planet. It’s a slow fashion approach that you can almost find no problems with.
The brand was nice enough to send me two different options to test out. These are the most comfortable slip-ons that I have ever worn. They have little grips on the inside of the sole that almost massage your foot as you walk. Not to mention that they designs are incredible. There are SO many to choose from. I opted for a colorful floral print and a coffee cup design. I get compliments on both whenever I wear them.
Although Nemani believes that there are “no downsides” to direct-to-consumer selling, there is one thing that fast fashion addicts will need to get used to — the shipping time. Because the shoes are not made until you order them, it takes longer to get to you.
Personally, I don’t see this at a downside considering that it is saving the planet. There are some people who are extremely used to their two-day shipping habits though. My Bucketfeet shoes got to me in about a week and a half after ordering them. It’s something to think about if you’re planning holiday gifts or want to get them for a specific event. Trust me when I say that they’re worth the wait though.
The other really incredible thing about direct-to-consumer buying is how many people can work for the company. Bucketfeet’s designers include over 40,000 people from 120 countries. Not only does that mean lots of people profiting off the shoes, but it also means that you have a ton of different pattern options.
“We’re the only footwear brand that’s made it our focus to work with artists, and so it’s made it a lot easier to attract such incredibly talented individuals from all walks of life,” the founder says. “We make it really easy for artists to submit their work for consideration through our Bucketfeet website. Our team then reviews the submissions internally and determines the designs that will be featured on the site. With on-demand production, we can now approve more designs than ever before in our history.”
The brand goes beyond a great selling tactic, too. Bucketfeet has one style of shoe — the plain white slip-on. It has found a way to master it by creating many patterns that are unisex as well. The shoes also come in sizes five to twelve, with a size guide that tells you exactly how the shoes will fit.
While the floral print that I got is pretty girly, my coffee cup design is something that everyone can love. (If only Lorelai and Rory could get a pair..) I also love knowing that the money goes towards designers from all over the world and not just one person in charge of the brand.
I truly can’t say enough good things about this brand.
Bucketfeet finds a way to give everyone — buyer and creator — creative freedom all while saving the planet at the same time. How many brands can say that?