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Fashion Crimes Podcast

Jan 21, 2022

This week on the FASHION CRIMES PODCAST “Designer Spotlight” guest series, we are shining our light on sustainable shoe designer, Emily Landsman Archila of Della Terra Shoes, who is now - of course - our new brand bestie! 

What is “sustainable fashion”? 

Well, your favorite stylist Holly Katz is here to tell you, because YOU NEED TO KNOW! 

Go right now and listen to this week’s podcast: “Sustainable Brand Della Terra Shoes

A little background: 

Della Terra has a mission to be an ethical and inclusive brand continuously working towards sustainability. With sustainability, accessibility, and inclusivity at the forefront of the brand, they embrace and support all facets of life. 

“Footwear with less footprint”

Two years ago, shoe designer Emily Landsman was inspired to create what was missing from her wardrobe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her transitional, inclusive styles are completely versatile #footwear, and her company is focused on creating real #shoes for real people! And, by the way, are both SUPER cute and fashionable! Yaaaassssss!  

This Shoe Boss Lady comes from a massive design background: After receiving her Master of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Emily worked in corporate footwear for nearly 16 years designing for prestigious fashion brands such as Alice + Olivia, Diane Von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Vince Camuto, Clarks, Via Spiga and many more.

Anyway, back to the episode: after Emily and Holly gush about their mutual BFF and friend of the podcast – Vienne Brown of Vienne Milano - Emily tells us about how she came to create a woman-owned, #sustainable shoe company. After years in the corporate shoe industry, she wanted to create a company of her own. But she was terrified - as any entrepreneur should be - before jumping off the diving board headfirst. 

It wasn't really until the pandemic hit, when she had time to spend marinating in the future of fashion, that she came to realize how businesses were going to have to adapt and change in our rapidly changing world.  So naturally, in the middle of a world pandemic, she decided THIS was the perfect time to launch a sustainable footwear brand! 

It was during those crazy COVID days, when the world seemed to stop, that she thought about this change - the way people shop, the way they dress - it was all transforming before our eyes. 

But at that moment came some clarity, and she knew exactly what was missing. And she knew that she could create it. Enter Della Terra, a sustainable and fashionable shoe company, which launched in June of 2020. 

So, what is does ‘sustainable fashion’ mean, and why should we care? 

Well, have you ever thrown out old flip-flops? That was made of rubber or plastic or leather? What happens to them in the trash pit? Do they just magically disappear? Or do they last forever? YES. They last forever. 

Imagine every single person on the planet throwing ONE PAIR of flip-flops away per year. How big is that “forever” trash pile? 

This is why being environmentally conscious and using sustainable materials in fashion matters.

Emily tells us that sustainability is not a “one and done” thing. It is something we need to constantly work toward.  In producing her own shoe line, they only produce in small batches, they order factory minimums and make relatively few pairs of shoes at one time.

The company manages production amounts by allowing preorders early for styles because they want to make sure that - right off the bat – they are not producing more shoes than there's a need for. 

Emily wants to know that every pair of shoes is going to have a loving home, which is what we want for all shoes in the world! Right!? But also, we need to know what the shoes are made of. Della Terra does not use any animal products in their footwear. 

They are PETA-approved and use vegan leather – a vegan leather that is very specific. They had to be sure that they were not just making more damn plastic shoes, but instead, making shoes that are a combination of what they call “bio-based” - natural plant-based materials - and recycled materials.

Emily tells us that one of the things we cannot take for granted is the fact that even if something is recyclable, a ton of resources are needed to recycle it. She wanted Della Terra to be one of those resources who was recycling what's already out there. #supersmart

Having a product or company with a purpose requires that you analyze all the ways you may impact the world: the resources you use, the trash you create, and what you give back to others or the world. 

So, Della Terra also works with carbon-neutral factories, and they plant one tree for every single pair you buy via One Tree Planted. The great thing about trees is that when you plant them, they grow right away. They won't be huge trees producing tons of oxygen yet, but as soon as they're planted, you are already helping the environment. And then those trees just continue to grow.

Key Insights here: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

The fashion crime here is not being a thoughtful and responsible fashion producer – AND – not being a responsible consumer. That is on you....#umewww

Buying vintage is cool, trading clothes with friends is fun, donation is mandatory - and honestly - people really do need your gently-used shoes and stilettos! 

For donating, Holly loves Out of the Closet and Dress for Success. Emily loves Soles 4 Souls. And they both love any organization that can help people feel confident and be dressed appropriately when trying to back on their feet. Literally and figuratively.

There are enough clothes in this world that no one should ever not have anything to wear. - Holly Katz

What about style and the fashion industry? 

Holly notes that the fashion industry ‘says’ they are working toward being more sustainable, but as a veteran fashion industry expert, she knows that some companies really are doing it the right way. However, a lot of companies may claim they are sustainable, but maybe they're only taking a percentage of their line and doing that. 

It's not a secret that the fashion industry is about selling units. The fashion industry is about making sure their profits are higher, every single day. Holly used to be in garment construction and production, where a quarter of a penny makes a difference. So, if someone can save a quarter of a penny by doing something not sustainable, that is what they are going to do. 

Some fashion brands are doing the “greenwashing” trend, which is a marketing tactic used to portray an organization's products, activities, or policies as environmentally friendly when they’re anything but.

Emily notes that the silver lining of that is, they're doing that because the customer cares and is demanding sustainability.

And FINALLY, Holly and Emily get to the fashion part of Della Terra shoes.  They feature slip-on flats, block-heel shoes, the most BADASS boots, and more.  The styling and construction are GORGEOUS! Emily pays particular attention to detail and proportion. And we especially love her because she is a bit of a rule-breaker.

Holly has posted some of her favorite Della Terra shoes on her Pinterest board, along with suggested outfits for each shoe. This is FREE advice, people! So, if you made it this far, you are welcome!! 

Have you downloaded this week’s episode yet?? Get it wherever you listen or at

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We are the best fashion friend you never you needed!

Xoxo – 

The Fashion Crimes Podcast, with personal stylist Holly Katz.