Behind The Scenes At RAFA's Vegan Footwear Factory in LA

by: Rosie Dalton | 6 months ago | News

Image: a deconstructed Milli Sandal.

Vegan shoes are hard to find. Especially beautiful vegan shoes that you can wear everywhere from your work Christmas party to your best friend’s wedding. Enter RAFA, a Los Angeles based footwear label specialising in just this kind of footwear. Founded by Taghrid Zorob, RAFA shoes are handmade in a small factory on the outskirts of Los Angeles. And they are designed to be worn today, next season and ten years from now.

Going behind the scenes at their factory in LA, Well Made Clothes discovered that so much love goes into each and every pair of RAFA’s beautiful shoes. “When I started this I wanted to create beautiful things that are good for people and good for the environment,” Taghrid explains of her modus operandi.

With a made-to-order model, the designer says that RAFA’s shoes are “handmade for you. Made with care and with love. It’s really a family environment. Many of [our artisans] are second and third generation shoemakers.” The handmade side of things is clearly an important part of the business, with each last being made by hand. And Taghrid describes this as a kind of art – “it really is a mini sculpture,” she says.

Equally important for the designer, though, is RAFA’s use of vegan materials. “I ended up finding this ultra-suede material,” she says. “It’s a textile that is engineered out of 80% recycled materials. It comes from PET bottles and it’s beautiful and resilient.” Handmade in a local LA factory from all-vegan materials, RAFA shoes don’t just look good – they are good.

Watch the video below to learn more about RAFA’s process and to go behind the scenes of the brand’s LA factory – where you will meet Taghrid and some her artisans like Juan, who cuts all the materials for the uppers of each shoe.

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