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Urban Lounge: relaxing in a stress-free environment
Aug '08
Brands with a clear mission statement are presented in the newly designed urban spirit segment in Hall 1 at GDS – International Event for Shoes & Accessories running from 12 to 14 September 2008.

Their brand philosophy stands for respect towards both mankind and nature. They are particularly committed to charitable and socially-responsible projects and show how it is possible to unite the apparently conflicting interests of economic viability and ethical demands.

They follow the trend towards green and ethical fashion. The Terra Plana label was selected the “Ethical Fashion Product of the year 2007” by the Observer.

Innovation, high quality and environmental conscience are at the centre of its brand philosophy. The swim shoes of the L'O lable are made of recyclable and eco-friendly PVC. Discarded shoes are completely reprocessed and made into new shoes.

The sustainability theme is also key for surf brand Simple. Along the lines of “good is just not good enough for us” the company searches for new and innovative ways to make its production even more eco-friendly.

Footwear label TOMS Shoes is committed to giving children throughout the world a better quality of life. For every pair of shoes sold one pair of shoes goes to a disadvantaged child.

Spanish brand El Naturalista is also setting an example here with an initiative for protecting and sustaining the environment by using only recyclable and already recycled materials in the production of its collections.

In Hall 1 the Urban Lounge in cooperation with El Naturalista offers visitors and exhibitors an area for relaxation and creates the opportunity for interesting conversations.

More and more industrial enterprises now wish to take a responsible approach to the future and do something positive. The changing approach of consumers towards social and ecological problems is clearly noticeable.

According to the survey Brigitte Kommunikationsanalyse 2008 organised by German fashion magazine Brigitte, 60% of German women alone aged 14 to 64 demand a greater importance be attached to responsible manufacturing and over half feel greater importance should be attached to sustainable consumption.

The current trend towards ecology and sustainability not only stretches to organic foodstuffs and cosmetics but also to fashion. This has meant a real green fashion market has developed.

Eco-friendly raw materials are playing an increasingly important role for designers, producers and customers. Production conditions that are socially and ecologically sound, alongside fair trading structures plus sustainability and transparency along the entire production chain, have all become more important.

TOMS Shoes: committed to disadvantaged children throughout the world Californian brand TOMS Shoes is presented to the international trade audience for the first time now at GDS. Alongside bags and T-shirts its brand portfolio also particularly includes shoes.

These are inspired by so-called 'alpargatas', traditional Gaucho shoes worn for centuries by Argentinean farm labourers. These ultra-light shoes are considered to be both very simple and original – made of cotton and finished with light rubber soles.

“I founded TOMS for one sole reason: to make life more pleasant,” explains the label's founder Blake Mycoskie. With their campaign “Shoes for Tomorrow” this socially motivated company helps children in need throughout the world.

Mycoskie's mission consists of designing collections that are stylish and comfortable but linked with the idea of doing something positive at the same time.

Since the label was founded in May 2006 TOMS Shoes has, along with its customers, donated over 10,000 pairs of shoes to children in Argentina and 50,000 pairs to children in South Africa.

El Naturalista: kind to the environment through natural materials In the wake of the new trend towards green fashion more and more shoe brands are offering fashionable, trendy collections that meet sustainability criteria and which are also produced under socially responsible conditions.

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