“Sustainability is an often-used term, yet it is universally undefined – especially when it comes to fashion,” stated Sylven New York, a shoe company looking to take steps in the right direction towards more environmentally-friendly business practices. “For us, sustainability means defending and protecting our natural resources, and minimizing the environmental impact of our consumption and decision-making.”

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A woman wearing an orange sweater holding two pairs of shoes in each hand

Founder of Sylven, Casey Dworkin, shares a birthday with Earth Day. It’s a connection she’s carried throughout her college years and experiences with footwear and fashion companies. But it wasn’t until she decided to start her own business that she was finally able to truly commit to the mission to “…seek to create the most sustainable, designer footwear on the planet. And that means conducting responsible practices throughout every single facet of our business.”

Related: Loci vegan shoes give back to animal conservation efforts

(Left to right) A model posing with black shoes, white shoes against some apples

The collection of boots, sneakers and flats is a reflection of this commitment. The company regularly experiments with, and adopts, a variety of bio-based products to replace toxic leather, which pollutes land and water. Apple leather is at the heart of the vegan boots and sneakers. Natural rubber sourced from the sap of the hevea tree, coconut husks for the insole and recycled cotton laces show the commitment to creating an entirely plant-based and vegan shoe. 

A black shoe with white laces leaning against a bag of apples

Being a sustainable company requires action at all levels of the business. With this in mind, Sylven is dedicated to only work with ethical Italian shoemakers who offer fair wages and safe working conditions, in addition to quality work meant to last. Sylven works to reduce waste at every phase by using recycled paper, recycled cotton dust bags and recycled and recyclable shoe boxes. The company also offers repairs to extend the life of shoes and works with recognized brand TerraCycle who responsibly recycles and disposes of shoes in order to strictly minimize those that end up in the landfill. 

(Left to right) A model holding an apple and wearing white sneakers, white sneakers posed against a bag of flowers

“We only have one planet, and one lifetime (that we’re conscious of)!” Sylven stated on their website. “And we aim to make the most of it. We intend to leave this place a little more replenished, and a lot more beautiful and inspired than how we inherited it. Sustainable thinking is a process, and our commitment is perpetual.”

+ Sylven New York

Images via Sylven New York