Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What have veggie shoes and pleather (faux leather) got to do with Pythagoras?

Pythagoras was quite an extraordinary person who lived in ancient Greece. Aged 18, he competed and won prizes in the Olympics as a wrestler. He travelled to Egypt and Babylonia to learn the ancient wisdom of the priests and it is said he could take on a bear or stop the eagle in flight with a few magical words. He was a masterful musician and physician and founded a school of philosophy and mysticism.

He started a sect called the Pythagorean Brotherhood and members were sworn to secrecy. They could not speak until they listened to his teachings for five years. The Brotherhood taught mathematics, music, astronomy and magic. Pythagoras believed everything in the universe followed mathematical laws and was created out of the geometric interactions of numbers. His philosophies formed the basis of numerology. Throughout his life Pythagoras was a committed vegan and would not have student under his charge unless they first relinquished leather shoes.

The serious outbreaks of foot and mouth disease as well as the fear of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease have resulted in a vast increase in the numbers of people in the Western World now committed to veganism which extends to the conscious decision to not to wear animal products including, shoes made from leather.

Ths critical mass is sufficient to now make it extremely profitable for many companies to cater for this loyal and developing market. In recent years’ footwear made from hemp, cotton, synthetic fibres and recycled rubber has increased. Outlets on the World Wide Web have proliferated to meet the expanding market. With relative ease it is possible to buy specialist shoes for bowling, skating and ballet all of which are guaranteed to contain no animal’s products. More and more companies are offering non-leather alternatives.

One advantage to the general consumer is non-animal products are cheaper to produce which makes these alternative shoes cheaper to buy. Some vegan type companies employ Earth friendly manufacturing and working conditions. One novel aspect of looking for no leather footwear it is cheaper and subsequently should be the first criteria for discerning shoppers. Even big companies like Nike have a shoes made from synthetic products. Synthetic leather is enjoying a 21st century revival with fashion doyen’s Alicicia Silverstone and Pamela Anderson regularly seen clad in PVC. In part this is due to supply, especially in Europe post Mad Cow disease but is surely combined with a far greater awareness of non-animal products made all the more attractive with 21st century technology. The “pleather industry” is making its way to a shoe shop near you. .

(Video Courtesy: ehowathomechannel Youtube Channel)

Barker C Future frock Quantas the Australian way July 2003 pp 10-12.

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