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April 14, 2017

What’s my beef with Birkenstocks? It’s not a values thing: I’m in full agreement with the organic, environmentally friendly stereotype of your old-school Birkenstock wearer. It’s really more of a philosophical difference: My philosophy is that you should embrace beauty in all aspects of your life. The Birkenstock’s mere existence is in complete defiance of that raison d’etre. Maybe it’s a conspiracy started by the footcare industry to make us all race out for those long-overdue pedicures?

Readers, if you haven’t already jumped on the Birk-bandwagon, it’s not too late to say no. Just remember: The last person to successfully pull this look off was Jesus, and even though he could turn water to wine, he still couldn’t turn the Birkenstock into a trend that we can in good faith promote.Leather made with child labor and under dangerous, polluted conditions in Bangladesh went to factories that produced goods for major U.S. and European shoe and handbag brands and companies, according to a report released Friday by New York-based nonprofit Transparentem. Those named in the report generally said they were concerned about the conditions at the tanneries, but that leather used in their particular products was made elsewhere.

managing director of Apex Footwear and a director at the Apex Tannery, calls Hazaribagh “an environmental disaster” and said they’ll soon be closing their plant there. But he said the report is a “smear campaign,” allegations of child labor are unsubstantiated, and leather doesn’t move between their Hazaribagh tannery and shoe factory.He said Transparentem “continues to make the completely false and unsubstantiated allegation that leather from Hazaribagh enters the supply chain of the shoes that (Western brands) buy from Bangladesh. This is false and this is wrong and this is unsubstantiated. And we challenge the NGO to prove otherwise. We have proven to the satisfaction of our customers the traceability of all the leather that we have used for the shoes that they buy from Bangladesh.”Manzur said Apex Footwear and Apex Tannery are separate entities, although they have some owners in common and are associated businesses.

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