An informal cooperative of indigenous men and women has found a way to explore the Amazon forest sustainably to produce organic, vegan footwear made from latex.
Latex is made from the material extracted from rubber trees, an activity that is sustainable and beneficial to the rainforest.
Called Ararinha, the sandals are traded online, with orders made via WhatsApp and mailed off to customers.
The women produce the footwear while the men do the rubbertapping, always ensuring that the trees get a rest after three tapping seasons.
The production stage involves 15 people: two men work the trees and 13 women make the sandals.
The items are made with pure latex and dyed with earth and urucum, a red-colored shrub that is popular as the raw material for body paint.
The sole is made with wood powder while the embroidery uses straw strings from buriti a type of palm. It is all 100% natural and the colors allude to the colors of the forest.
The designers say the sandals, besides beautiful, are comfortable and durable.
“After the women received training to transform latex into rubber sheets, I felt there was a need to create footwear with these materials. Along with my partner Txada Shawã and two other leaders from the Shawã Nãba tribe, Yuvanã Shawã and Kumawã Shawā, we decided to continue with a previous, successful project and further develop footwear,” Daosha Vaxā Shawā, footwear designer, told good news portal, Só Notícia Boa.
Each pair costs R$150 (US$34.90) and the collection includes male and female models.
“We only started selling it recently. Our production is still small at 40 pairs per month but it will increase as we receive more orders. Soon production will extend to indigenous people of the Novo Acordo tribe, who belong to the same ethnic group,” Daosha tells.