Bristol is fantastic at nurturing amazing creative talent. You could fill your whole home, not just your wardrobe without leaving the city limits if you really wanted to. In my quest for more mindful consumption and ethical fashion choices, I started looking for a decent replacement for the knackered old sandals which had served me well since last summer. That’s when I stumbled across the brilliant Ottowin.
It was some late-night Instagram scrolling which led me to discover this Bristol-based footwear brand. Instantly falling head over heels (HA) for them, I sent an over-enthusiastic email and was astonished when told I could pop in to their studio to say hello the next day. What nice folks.
Run by Lucy Lloyd and Oliver Cross, Ottowin have been part of the Bristol indie shoe scene (gonna go out on a limb here and say that it’s a pretty small scene) since last year. Based from their home at Loft 6d in central Bristol, they make hand-crafted unisex shoes, boots and sandals from sample hides which would have otherwise gone to waste. Everything is carefully considered and painstakingly carried out – from the solid Solovair soles to the buttery-soft pigskin atop the leather insole, which moulds to your foot over time.
Ok, so let’s have a chat about leather for a second. You’d certainly be right in thinking that I’ve flirted with vegetarianism and veganism over the years, which would put me at odds with my unwaivering love for leather. I’ve also banged on about minimalism and fashion over the last couple of weeks on the blog, and the main factor with choosing leather over a vegan alternative for me is the issue of sustainability. I would much rather have a leather piece which lasts me a lifetime than buy PVU and have it committed to landfill in a year or two. Chatting to Lucy and Ollie about this very topic revealed that they too are vegetarian, and their love for leather stems from the same place as mine. Hence the reason for using up hides and making one-off pieces from what colours they come across at the tannery down the road on North Street.
I am hopelessly in love with my sandals and they have barely left my feet since I bought them a few weeks ago. I’m eyeing up a pair of their buckled shoes next, they are positively dreamy. Take a peek at their website here or go and say hello – they’re regulars at the Frome Independent Market each month.
Featured image by Lauren Jayne Hall.