As the winter winds begin to show their strength through the sunny streets of Paris, my Canadian soul searches for familiar signs of warmth in clothing made up of knitted fibres as is custom where I come from. The most ecological way to stay warm is to layer up - not turn the heat up - a lesson my mother drilled into us from day one.
Our apartment in Paris has beautiful hardwood floors which are wonderfully cool in the summer but become even more so as weather turns cold. While I've learned to trade my pjs in at morning's light for a more suitable set of stretchy apparel and leave the house each morning to attend French class, the rest of my day is spent hunched over a computer in a uniform of sweatpants, tshirt, a knit sweater, and sometimes an ancient passed down fur (I don't condone new production of fur but do condone heritage antiques passed down as it disrespects the animal to destroy or discard the fur they unwillingly donated to human decoration or warmth).
Up until recently, I was wearing a pair of wool socks which have had a hole in the heal since 2014, and thus they weren't really all that warm. I was missing a simple pair of slippers like I grew up with in Canada, something I could easily walk around in (without slipping) and something which would genuinely keep me warm. In Denmark where I lived part-time for a few years people even had hjemmesko (home shoes) available for guests who visited in the winter months (the Scandinavians do cosy well) so they might have cosy feet too.
I searched for some last winter in the gear up to Christmas as my mum had requested a pair, but failed to find any that were suitable and met my moral requirements. This year however, a brand called Chilote Shoes got in touch with cosy creations which were not only eco and ethical, but made a positive impact on the world and the community in which the slippers are made.
Each pair is handmade in Patagonia through a co-op system of ethically treated workers, they're made "slow" with the care and pride of independent artisan women doing what they know and love. To me along with their functionality, they're a representation of empowerment, allowing the community to utilize renewable local resources to sustain their unique culture and craft.
The materials for the slippers are sourced in Patagonia as well from sheep who provide one of nature's most useful materials, wool. The fibre is then spun and knit by hand to create a slipper which is both insulating and ventilating allowing it to adapt your feet to an ideal temperature.
It also features locally and ethically produced Salmon Leather which is made with upcycled and repurposed salmon skin discarded by the fishing industry to create a new product which is both durable and flexible.
These two naturally sourced materials mean the entire slipper can be composted at the end of its lifecycle - unlike most slippers which are laden with non-biodegradable acrylic materials and rubber.
Each pair comes with their own artisan code, which allows you to identify which cooperative has produced the beautiful piece which now covers your soles, giving you a chance to connect and imagine the lives of those who have been able to support themselves through your purchase.
Alongside the house shoe I'm sporting as I write this piece with my street rat cat on my lap, they also have baby booties for ages 1-3 which are amongt the sweetest little things I've seen. You'll find their collection of sustainable slippers on their website HERE. An awesome holiday gift for anyone living this side of the equator.
PHOTOS: Shane Woodward
[SPONSORED POST] Please note, the bracelets pictured were gifted to me by the lovelies at Chilote Shoes. I don't receive any editorial direction from brands I work with, opinions and words are most definitely my own. I only collaborate with brands who align with my ethos and are working, with the planet and her inhabitants in mind, towards a greener, kinder future.