Take 5 with... Marion from Good Guys Don't Wear Leather
Fridays are interview-days in WOMB. This week we are happy to introduce to you Marion from GOOD GUYS DON’T WEAR LEATHER, who will not only discuss with us the history of her brand, but also share her thoughts on veganism, the world’s view on it and the development towards cruelty-free fashion- and design industry.
1. Tell us a bit about yourselves, where are you from, where and what did you study and how and why did you choose your current base?
I, Marion Hanania, created Good Guys in 2011 in Paris. I studied Fashion Design at Ecole Duperré in Paris. For a few years, I worked designing High-End shoes in Fashion (Isabel Marant, Devastés), but I saw that I needed more, and I needed to work in accordance with my ethics. That's why I created Good Guys in Paris, a brand infused with my taste in style, and that follows my ideas in terms of remaining cruelty-free, sustainable and respecting good working conditions for everyone involved.
I now live in Los Angeles in the harbour of San Pedro, and continue to work with Europe and the USA, with a team that spans across the oceans in Italy, France and California.
2. What's important to you, and how do these values affect your professional choices?
My life has revolved around Art since as far as I can recall. I am nurtured by the Arts, painting, sculpture and design. I try to bring my artistic taste to Good Guys. I am, at every level, in charge of the artistic side of the brand. I single-handedly design the shoes, the campaigns and the visuals for Good Guys. It is important to me to respect workers and their work conditions. Before Good Guys, my work in fashion has taught me how the production can disregard working conditions, in favour of profit. My factories, in Portugal, England and Spain have very high standards in this regard, and that is very important to me. When I created Good Guys, there was NO Vegan shoes available in France, and very few elsewhere. I had to create a brand to change that. I had to act because it was simply impossible to find footwear with style and that was also free of cruelty towards animals.
3. Tell us about Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather, its mission and vision - how and why did it start?
Good Guys started because there were no shoes available that didn't use animal products in France. It just didn't exist. So I was the first Vegan brand in France. A brand was needed that offered simple and original styles, together with revisited classics and that didn't use products that disregarded ethics, environmental concerns, and animal welfare. It is as simple as that. I wanted a brand that looked good, that felt good, and that wasn't doing harm.
Sometimes you have to create what you can't find out there.
4. Using the notion “veganism” we sometimes feel that people find it aggressive and imposing. Is it a reaction you’ve been met with too? What is the general response to your cruelty-free approach to production and material sourcing?
Aggression towards Vegan principles is receding, and receding fast. Now even Fast-Food chains have embraced the word, simply because it's popular. There is a real boom in our field. That said, the Meat and Leather industry still haven't given up, and misinformation about Vegan products and brands is very common. The thing is, once you are aware of the horrors that wearing leather or eating meat imply, it is really easy to give them up, and impossible to think back.
Research has now shown us that the environmental impact of Meat and Leather is disastrous. So, nowadays, you have more and more people who choose to buy Vegan products, even if they haven't made the Leap Of Faith to become fully Vegan themselves. People just want to do something about environmental matters, that are dangerous and pressing, and sometimes it starts with choosing the right pair of shoes, or eating the right burger when you have the choice. So basically, now, in addition to the huge Environmental benefit to not use the Meat&Leather Industry, Good Guys is doing a lot of research in sourcing the most sustainable and eco-friendly materials, and the sector makes advances everyday, so you really have to keep up if you want to be serious, and competitive.
5. Who are your personal heroes? Why?
Georgia O'Keefe, Tove Jansson and Alice Neel, three wonderful female artists who were fully committed to their creation and who didn't let themselves be stopped in their path and creativity by the boundaries imposed on their gender or their artistic aspirations; at times when the society they lived in did everything it could to stop that.