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It’s 1995 and you’ve just landed a cinematic date with your best friend. Put on a plaid skort, you match the elastics of your suspenders with butterfly clips in your hair before rummaging through your wardrobe to find your favorite pair of shoes. Wiggling the spongy back strap between your fingers, they land with a “splat” on the floor, so you don’t mind putting them on. And here are the iconic jelly shoes, my bloated friends. Whether you loved them or hated them, jelly creations are making a comeback, currently making the rounds. official choice of monsoon shoes.

What are jelly shoes?

Injection-molded soft plastic shoes, commonly referred to as jelly or jelly shoes because the first is a mouthful, are a type of shoe first introduced in the 1980s. Made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), they usually cover your toes and branch out in bands with one piece going all the way to the front binding. Considering their base material, jelly shoes are mostly transparent and available in every color imaginable. They may also have non-transferable glitter and My little Pony stickers – with woven or solid shoe design. What else? They cost only $ 1 in simpler times!

Presented by Grendene, a Brazil-based company, jelly shoes were marketed and distributed in the United States after their debut at the World’s Fair in Knoxville in 1982. In fact, the company took jellies so seriously that they were giving it a makeover. produced each six months or to stay ahead of competing companies. Fast fashion, who? Around the time of their introduction, jelly fans raved about the shoes until they were called a must-have. I mean they were cheap, came in the craziest colors possible, and were pretty much indestructible. You could literally buy a pair to match every item in your wardrobe.

Coveted for both of these factors, jelly shoes have seen frequent revivals since their inception, peaking in the late 1990s. By 2006, Grendene had made nearly 131 million pairs jelly creations. Fifteen years later, the shoes have, once again, stood the test of time, promising not only a plunge into longing for all things. Year 2000, but also by promising to keep your toes dry during the monsoons.

Put back into action by the pioneer Blake lively in June 2021, it was only a matter of time before everyone Alexa chung and Simone rocha To Gucci and Giorgio Armani paraded them on the runway, some encrusted with jewels while others adorned with feathers. Dua Lipa also nailed an updated version of the ’90s favorite at Versace Spring / summer 2022 collection during Milan Fashion Week. According to the Global Fashion Research Platform Lyst, online searches for “jelly sandals” have exploded since April 2021, with an 82% month-over-month increase following their dominance on the catwalks. In short, the “explosion of the past” creations are here to stay for now because Generation Z’s obsession with recreate a time they missed it while they were still in childbirth.


A double-edged plastic sword

Whether or not you choose to break your feet in a pair of jelly shoes this rainy season, it’s time to address some burning questions that accompany the trend’s return in 2021 – one rather. climatically anxious year If you ask me. How environmentally friendly are jelly shoes? Are those marketed as “100% recyclable” true to their claims or are the fashion giants trying to make their way out of the questionable material? In order to break this down, let’s go back to the “cheap” production process supporting the shoes.

Making jelly shoes is a fairly straightforward process. How things work noted how Grendene uses computer numerical control (CNC) machines to shape different molds. Jellies are then formed by injecting resin into them, along with other additives needed to adjust the stiffness, texture and color of the shoes. However, the majority of jelly shoes are made of PVC, which Green peace claims to be “one of the most toxic substances that saturate our planet and its inhabitants”. Toxic chlorine-based chemicals are released at every step of the production, use and disposal of PVC, the group says, leading to health problems like cancer, damage to the immune system and disruption. hormonal.

A report of the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University expands on these claims by showing how the PVC production process exposes workers and communities to vinyl chloride and other toxic substances. “PVC products such as medical equipment and children’s toys can leach toxic additives over their useful life,” the report said. “Vinyl building materials give off hydrochloric acid fumes if they catch fire while burning PVC creates by-products, including dioxin, a potent carcinogen. So why is the toxic material used to make jelly shoes in the first place? Inexpensive production costs combined with long lasting, low maintenance properties.

In an interview with The Guardian, Natalie Fresh, the founder of From town to sea—An environmental organization campaigning to stop plastic pollution — explained how jelly sandals embody fashionista madness. “Why would you want to be seen in something made entirely of fossil fuels, most likely frack gas, in the midst of a climate emergency? ” she said. According to Julien kirby, an activist at Friends of the Earth, the key concept behind such products from an environmental perspective is that they are built to last. “This is especially important with shoes, because poorly made ones barely last on a holiday,” he added. In short, jelly shoes are indeed built to last which is long lasting because it eliminates the need to purchase additional shoes. But what about the environmental friendliness of the product lifecycle?

Considering consumers’ foray into sustainable brands, the Brazilian company Lemon balm shoes and UK based Juju, which supplies products like ASOS and Urban Outfitters, promise recyclable jellies. According to passionate, the former sells non-toxic, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free and vegan jelly shoes while the latter gets its supplies in England and grinds old shoes to make new ones. However, little information exists to support these environmental claims. Lynn wilson, a consumer consultant and researcher noted how this is the key issue for consumers when it comes to such enduring claims. What does “recyclable” mean from a business perspective? Is “ecological” PVC really a sustainable material?

A survey of EcoSalon revealed how Melissa shoes are made from Melflex, a type of PVC developed and patented by its parent company Grendene, which states that the technology it uses for development is “the most sustainable and environmentally correct on the market worldwide ”. The official Melissa website also claims that PVC is “one of the most durable thermoplastics available” while Melflex is “versatile, durable, fully reusable and extremely environmentally friendly”.

Heck, Grendene’s annual report – as EcoSalon noted – goes so far as to state that “when disposed of, PVC footwear can be fully recycled, burned for energy, or even sent to waste. landfills because they do not contaminate soil or groundwater. . “According to The Guardian and the bbc, however, PVC is almost never recyclable by local councils and may contaminate other recycled plastics, contrary to what the company claims.

These brands, however, offer solutions. To get started, Melissa installed recycling collectors in all its stores while the one located Covent Garden guaranteed to take back the shoes. A spokesperson for Juju also said that while “there is no formal program in place for the consumer to recycle through us … if they are sent to our address and have been cleaned they can be added to our pile to be crushed and made into new shoes. “

Wilson agreed that this level of engagement with its consumers is vital. “We need the industry to say ‘this is our ambition… this is where we are at right now, this is what we need you to help us on’. Then we can start working towards this common closed loop. So while the popularity of jelly shoes does make sense, given that they are reminiscent of a time that isn’t 2020 or 2021, think twice before you drown in their jelly glow. After all, get severe burns caused by the material itself is not yet out of the question.

Jelly shoes are having a Y2K moment at the expense of our environment, again




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