Fortunately, though, ethically-minded shoe-fetishists do have several options. You could go for man-made options on the high street, and goodness knows, there are plenty of them around if fast fashion is your thing. The downsides are that they are likely to be made from petroleum-based materials like pvc (possibly by a six-year-old Indian child), and that they are not likely to be built to last.
With this in mind, you could decide that it is better to buy leather, but less of it and splash out on an investment piece that will not need replacing next season. The trouble is that tanning leather can be just as environmentally damaging as producing the artificial alternatives. What to do? Well you could give a new life to leather that has been given to charity shops or clothes swaps. Or if you're buying new, Terra Plana has designs to delight the most discerning fashionista, made using recycled leather and vegetable dyes. I adore these quilted beauties:
Beyond Skin and faint with desire at pieces like these high-heeled, hand-made, platform brogues *swoon*:
Stella McCartney is the go-to lady for vegetarian couture. These faux-leather boots would imbue any outfit with instant chic:
At £415, however, Stella is *ever so slightly* out of my price range. So what, I hear you ask, did Cockatrice decide to plump for in the end? Well, this season I will mostly be wearing...
... these divine 'Teese' boots from ShoeMissy. I love the concealed platform and the fact that they look equally sassy with dresses, skinny jeans or leggings. If you're not a hot pink kinda girl, the ShoeMissy site has versions with bows in three different shades of leopard print, which come on a detachable pin that can also be worn as a brooch. And even better, they're completely animal free! Vegan footwear just got a whole lot sexier...
p.s. Look out for a through-the-keyhole feature on the beautiful home of ShoeMissy founder Anna, coming soon here on Paper Flowers.