Leeds fashion student’s vegan shoe design wins top title

Alice Lambert-Gorwyn. PIC: Simon Hulme
Alice Lambert-Gorwyn. PIC: Simon Hulme
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A fashion design student has beaten applicants from around the world to win the first ever competition to design a completely Vegan shoe.

Talented Leeds University student Alice Lambert-Gorwyn was picked by celebrity judge Laura Whitmore as the winner of the competition, run by PETA and Beyond Skin.

Her high-heel design is made from imitation exotic skin, faux leather and microfibre suede.

Alice, 22, who lives in Leeds, said: “I am extremely passionate about animal welfare. I’m a vegetarian and have recently made the decision to stop buying leather.

“I would love in the future to work for an ethical company, and this competition seemed like a great stepping stone and a fantastic platform to raise awareness of such an important issue.”

The fourth year student beat stiff competition from as far-afield as Brazil to be crowned the winner.

Presenter Laura Whitmore, the Irish MTV Europe and I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Now! presenter, who described the student’s design as “slick and sophisticated”, said: “I truly believe that the future of fashion lies in sustainable, cruelty-free materials.

“For someone who loves fashion and cares about animals, the great news is that from the catwalk to the high street, the availability of clothes and shoes made from faux leather and faux suede is on the rise.”

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) campaigns for animal rights and calls for the end of fur and leather use.

Brighton-based Beyond Skin is committed to helping animals and the environment by using only animal-free, recyclable materials in its fashion products. They want an end to cruelty to animals whose skin is turned into leather.

Her winning shoe will now go into production and hit the market in time for spring/summer 2014.

Delighted Alice is now hoping for a career working in fashion with an ethical company.


Turning animal skin into leather requires highly toxic mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes – some of which are cyanide-based. Tannery runoff contains large amounts of pollutants, such as salt, lime sludge, sulphides and acids. Animals on factory farms produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population – without the benefit of waste-treatment plants. More and more designers and retailers – including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Esprit, Topshop and H&M – are recognising the huge demand for animal-friendly fashions and offering their customers shoes, bags, purses and belts made from modern, high-quality synthetics which don’t harm the Earth or a hair on an animal’s head.

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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