Spanish plant-based shoemakers
Flamingos Life is a Spanish shoemaker brand focused on designing and manufacturing sneakers made from plant-based materials. The brand was founded with the goal of providing a sustainable alternative within the fashion industry, aiming to reduce the degradation of the planet, through the creation of durable products with timeless retro-inspired designs. The brand is the heritage received from more than 40 years of family tradition in the footwear business. Flamingos life was born to add value and help develop a field that had seen little change over the past century.
Honesty and transparency are the core values that guide their business. These differentiate them from the fashion industry which generally bases its business model on maximizing profits at the expense of exploiting people in less developed countries and destroying the planet along the way. Flamingos Life is committed to guaranteeing a fair supply chain, respecting all the rights of workers, and reducing negative environmental impacts in a real and measurable way. Each of their collections undergoes a comprehensive analysis of the environmental and social impact. All the data is collected and communicated in a clear and accessible way for everyone. These results serve as a benchmark for continuous improvement in all of the processes, materials, and designs.
Flamingos life started at the end of 2014 in the city of Elche, Alicante in the Southeast of Spain. A place with a century-old tradition in shoe manufacturing. The brand is a local pioneer when it comes to the use of vegan materials, with corn waste, bamboo, cork, organic cotton and rubber as the foundation. Promoting and preserving craftsmanship is the cornerstone of the business model, so the entire production is made by experienced artisans.
The goal is to achieve a functional product, with thoughtful design. One that represents the identity of the brand and is aligned with the values of respect for the planet and all its living beings. Currently, Flamingos life has distribution agreements in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Australia and New Zealand, as well as sales representatives in the UK and Italy and a global presence through its online channel. In 2024 Flamingos life is expected to reach 120.000 pairs sold.
Craftsmen are the base for developing sustainable products. These artisans carry the tradition and know-how of a centennial industry. The company facilities are located in Elche, Alicante. The Spanish hometown has a long history linked to the footwear industry. They’ve learned a trade that has been passing from generation to generation and is at risk of disappearing due to the decentralization of production chains. Establishing long-lasting relationships of cooperation with experienced manufacturers is essential when developing sustainable products. Manufacturing a Flamingos life sneaker requires the employment of hundreds of people, all of them working in ethical and optimal conditions.
Working with local suppliers is essential in reducing the carbon footprint. The extensive experience that these manufacturers have, combined with their innovative work in the development of materials and components, is the key to the creation of each collection. Flamingos life is committed to creating products with the lowest possible environmental impact, and developing innovative materials while respecting the rights of all the people involved in the supply chain. The first material developed was a leather alternative made of corn waste that is currently in all of the models. This material is made from inedible corn waste, and it works as an alternative to leather in terms of softness and ecological impact.
The next plant-based material introduced was the bamboo-based inner lining. The properties of this plant make it especially important as raw material because it is renewable and easy to grow, on top of that, it has a great ability to absorb greenhouse gases. The rest of the materials used across the different collections have similar characteristics, chosen because of their limited environmental impact and the generation of waste. Some of these materials are organic cotton, natural rubber, and other recycled materials. Currently, around 50% of the shoe is made with plant-based and biodegradable materials. In addition, the packaging is made from recycled paper and inkless.
Each process in which the brand is involved is defined with honesty and transparency in mind. Flamingos’ Life collaborates with the sustainable fashion consultancy BCOME to carry out an in-depth analysis of all production processes, measuring environmental impacts in order to provide accurate, clear, and concise information along the entire supply chain. Each shoe collection has a social and environmental project associated with it. This way, the brand makes a great effort to minimize the environmental impact and involves the clients in the improvement of the most economically disadvantaged communities.