Charmoné Introduces Elegant Shoe Line for the Fashion Conscious with a Social Conscience

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Natalie Portman wears luxury eco-friendly shoe from newly launched Charmoné.

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Charmoné (pronounced SHAR-monay), a new footwear company that creates charming shoes in harmony with people, animals and the environment, recently launched their premiere collection for Fall 2006. Already spotted on the red carpet worn by A-list celebrity Natalie Portman, Charmoné prides itself on utilizing the highest quality synthetics and fabrics to deliver stylish shoes that are also animal-safe (non-leather), eco-friendly and sweatshop-free. Made in Italy, Charmoné targets the globally conscious consumer looking for accessible luxury and fashion-forward European design and quality - an under-served segment of the shoe industry until now.

At the helm and heart of Charmoné are partners Jodi Koskella and Lauren Carroll – two former Silicon Valley executives with the desire to carve out a unique niche in the fashion industry. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit and a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York resident Lauren began to research the idea of “vegan” footwear and found very little in the vast middle ground that occupies the space between the comfortable yet practical “earth” sandal and the beautiful but high-end Stella McCartney designs. Together with Jodi, a fellow friend and fashionphile, Lauren created Charmoné, a concept that aims to restore the balance between what’s aesthetically pleasing and what’s socially responsible.

Charmoné’s debut collection features two distinct lines: Spice and Wildflower, named after natural elements to coincide with the company’s eco-luxury values. While the company’s values may echo those once considered “hippie,” the designs are anything but.

The Spice collection is comprised of sexy and sophisticated evening wear created from luxurious fabrics and embellished with Swarovski crystals, velvet ribbon and tassels that wrap around the ankle. The Wildflower collection features modern yet highly wearable designs such as wedges (including a contemporary spin on the Mary Jane), platforms and stilettos with piping, grosgrain or velvet ribbon detailing in soft microfiber suedes and tweeds. This collection is characterized by sculpted heels and romantic touches, combining creativity and practicality for both work and weekend wear.

“People no longer fall into neat little categories of ‘hippie’ or ‘yuppie’ and the mainstream consumer is becoming more socially aware,” says Carroll. “We’re offering women an opportunity to make wise, socially conscious fashion choices without sacrificing their sense of style or individuality.”

Non-leather shoes were traditionally considered inferior to leather shoes due to poor construction, lack of breathability and the general sense that they were harsher on the environment. Charmoné eliminates these barriers by using high quality Italian microfibers that are structured exactly like leather, making them breathable, lightweight and colorfast. Charmoné carries its mission into all facets of the production process – from using last boards made from 70% pre-consumer waste to insisting that factories use water-based glue and nickel-free hardware. In terms of environmental concerns, Charmoné designs are free from harmful PVCs, utilizing instead a light polyurethane coating that is gentler on the environment. What’s more, the process of creating microfiber is less polluting than the traditional factory farming and leather and tanning processes.

“This is a growing trend,” says Koskella. “You see it in clothing with American Apparel’s sweatshop-free message and Bono’s apparel line Edun, along with environmentally-friendly beauty products like Aveda. We’re taking this trend into mainstream footwear and looking to make a major impact on the industry by changing people’s perception about what’s possible.”

In addition to minimizing the impact of their manufacturing, Charmoné takes it a step further by donating a portion of all profits to charities that support people, animals and the environment. The first charity slated for donation is Women for Women International, a charity that provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources they need to move from poverty and crisis to stability and self sufficiency.

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Peyton Robertson

J Public Relations



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