After opening a vegan shoe store in 2010, Vegan Style store owner and curator Justin Mead became acutely aware of the lack of stylish options in the vegan footwear market.

“A lot of the vegan footwear around at the time was more functional-focused, so we wanted to give people options that were very much fashion-focused too,” Mead says.

Zette Shoes was the answer to that and is the in-house brand for the Melbourne-based vegan footwear boutique Vegan Style.

“Our first collection in 2014 celebrated glamorous, feminine styles, with a range of Italian-made women’s stiletto heels and pointed-toe flats,” Mead says.

When it came to naming the business, the founder turned to his foster cat, Zette.

“The team and I name all of our shoe styles after the many rescue cats we’ve come to look after and help re-home over the years.”

Zette Shoes are made in Europe (Spain, Portugal and Italy) in small, family-owned factories.

The materials used are also produced in Spain or Italy where workers operate under fair, safe conditions, and are looked after by European Union employment, health and safety laws.

Zette Shoes

For their shoes, Mead opts for premium, vegan, European-made PU microfibres and textiles.

He says that these options are more gentle on the environment than PVC (which contains a lot of toxic chemicals) and leather (which is taxing on the planet — from the resources taken to grow a cow to the chemicals used to tan the leather).

Many of the materials used in the Zette shoes are Ecolabel and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified.

“We’re very careful to ensure that our products are 100% vegan, meaning they contain no animal materials,” Mead says.

“Sadly a lot of synthetic or seemingly non-leather shoes can still contain animal-derived components that are not disclosed.

“This can include animal-derived glues, reinforcement parts, outsoles, dyes and more. You know with Zette Shoes that you’re always buying something totally vegan and cruelty-free.”

To reduce waste in their production, Zette Shoes produces in small quantities, creating well-made pieces from premium materials, so that they can be durable and last for years to come.

The founder says they are very passionate about slow, quality made fashion, and reject the fast fashion model.

“We’re super passionate about making it easier for people to choose products that are kinder to animals, people and the earth,” Mead says.

“We love showing that animal-friendly and ethical fashion definitely doesn’t have to mean boring.

“So Zette is for anyone who loves shoes that are well-made, elegant and a bit fun. You certainly don’t have to be vegan to wear our shoes.”

Zette Shoes are available in women’s, men’s and unisex sizes. Find out more and shop here.