A few weeks ago, Willa Phoenix made a name for herself by becoming the first pineapple leather shoe to walk the Oscars 2023 red carpet. From Samata Pattinson, CEO of Suzy Amis Cameron’s Red Carpet Green Dress, to actress Megalyn Echikunwoke and celebrity stylist Tara Swennen, a slew of celebrities have all worn Willa Phoenix shoes, giving vegan footwear a new spotlight.

The Hollywood stiletto by Willa Phoenix – Courtesy

“The partnership between Willa Phoenix and Vegan Fashion Week made it possible for my shoes to be featured on the Oscars red carpet,” said Abby Barroll Brown, founder of Willa Phoenix. “I joined Vegan Fashion Library in Los Angeles, the only showroom and styling house of its kind that connects designers with industry professionals, media outlets, and celebrities who are interested in ethical luxury. Then, magic happened!”
Long dominated by the big luxury brands, the arrival of an alternative brand at Oscars season could mark a new focus on the vegan and ethical footwear market.

“With the growing awareness of sustainable fashion and the availability of new resources, we are seeing progress toward a more conscious fashion industry,” added Barroll Brown. “I’m confident that many celebrities will be thinking about their everyday outfits and even more so about what they wear on the red carpet.”

Particularly noteworthy is the Hollywood stiletto shoe made in gold pineapple leather, the latest addition to Willa Phoenix’s ‘Wanderlust’ capsule collection.

“Our shoes are meticulously crafted by skilled artisans in a small factory in Italy, with every step of the process closely monitored,” continued Barroll Brown. “Typically, it takes between 8 and 10 weeks to create a single shoe. The golden pineapple material used for the Hollywood stiletto is known as Piñatex, and the production cost is the same as our other shoe designs. We pride ourselves on offering high quality, affordable, durable shoes that are comparable to traditional animal leather shoes.”

Abby Barroll Brown, Willa Phoenix’s founder – courtesy

The Willa Phoenix brand was born when British founder Barroll Brown began exploring the world of sustainable and ethical fashion. “I discovered many emerging brands, but I was having trouble finding shoes that fit my style,” said Barroll Brown. “Despite having no experience in the fashion industry, I decided to design my own shoes during the Covid lockdown. As a small business with limited resources, I decided to create a capsule collection of shoes and matching clutches. I chose four pairs of shoes that I would love to have in my own closet: black, nude, animal print, and an evening shoe with a matching bag. Willa Phoenix has been well received and just keeps getting stronger. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, especially with the abundance of new materials coming to the market.”

Invited to show her collection at Vegan Fashion Week in Los Angeles in 2022, the annual event founded by Emmanuelle Rienda, Barroll Brown now wants to demonstrate to consumers “that ethical fashion can be just as luxurious and of superior quality as anything made from real animal skins.”

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