Brazilian slow shoes: handmade, hand-tanned (chrome-free), natural-dyed, reused-tire soles

Brazilian slow shoes: handmade, hand-tanned (chrome-free), natural-dyed, reused-tire soles

Juliano Lima believed in the skills of his countrymen, but he knew that few Brazilian crafters had the resources to bring their work to a larger market. He wanted to create a global brand of leather shoes that were not only handmade, but made without chemicals- for dyes or tanning (i.e. chrome).

He traveled over 8,000 kilometers through Brazil looking for artisans who knew how to craft and dye leather the old way. In the state of Ceará he found leather-workers whose hand-made process dated from the sixteenth century. Here they were still tanning leather without using chrome.

“Our main desire as a brand is to rescue manufacturing cultures & ancient clothing products that are being lost through times and insert them back into the market.”

To move beyond the colors of brown and black, he pushed to find a way to color his shoes with natural dyes. To create a more sustainable sole, Lima’s team began experimenting with using old tires, eventually creating a tool to craft the tires and separate the rubber from the steel wires.

Today Caboclo is made up of Juba and his brother Leonardo. The Brazilian “social-environmental designer” Paula Dib heads up material, product and design development, but Juba is quick to point out that all 60 artisans in the cooperative are also “designers” and are encouraged- through educational benefits- to become entrepreneurs themselves.

The Caboclo team now produces shoes tailored to trends in New York, Paris, Barcelona and London. Today, there are two stores in Barcelona (one crafted from recycled shipping pallets that Lima scavenged from the nearby port) and the shoes are sold in the United States, Canada, Japan, Finland, Spain, France, Italy and Germany.

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Kirsten Dirksen

27 thoughts on “Brazilian slow shoes: handmade, hand-tanned (chrome-free), natural-dyed, reused-tire soles

  1. Thank you for being committed to making a product using craftsmen and natural methods that don't add to all other harmful chemicals in our world.

  2. You Sir are a business man and more than that you give people dignity and we can use more and more people like you.

  3. faith with pain caused by the catholic religion and illiteracy.They are the little ones of Jesus! obs. The people.

  4. Hi, I am Thuy from Vietnam. Your video is beauitful. I have a project with environment and natural and I am trying to help my community to figure out leather tanning method by different natural trees. Can I contact with you? I try to research but in my country, they cannot make leather without using chemical so a lots of problem with environment.

    I hope to hear from you soon,

    Thank you so much!

  5. This is great, im loving this channel… really good content… just what i was looking for

  6. Love it! I think is great that you guys work with artisans, in all Latin America there are great artisans but unfortunately their art sometimes is not enough to make a good living. I don't think he is trying to appropriate the fact of using recycled tire or bark tanning, I just think he is bringing great ideas together to create a great product, good things cost something and I really doubt those haters below are super eco-friendly or do something to help the world even with a little grain of sand of their own. It is great to see this kind of ideas in a world full of fast fashion.

  7. This guy is a typical Brazilian: opportunist in a very bad sense. First, how much do his Brazilian laborers make comparing to him? Second, why not sell locally? Surely his export can be overpriced (he actually prouds himself of "selling in Europe" in the video). Third, his whole salesman pitch is absurd; natural, bark tanning is one of the oldest things humans do. Tanning with chrome came with the industrial revolution. Fourth, retail leather businesses are a very bad thing in many senses: not animal friendly, not environmentally friendly (even without the use of toxic chemicals), and in most cases including his, use very cheap, you can even say abused, labor. Also, what he says about how awesome Brazil is because all of the "crafty" poor people that you can gather and explore, all I can say is that yes, there are craftsman everywhere, but the quality of the craft is almost always barely enough; typical Brazilian culture is to learn how to make stuff with the least amount of skills, research, development, and with the least quality material (not exclusively the most cost-effective ones, mind you), and try to sell that as high as you can. You can go anywhere in the Brazilian "sertão" and you'll see that local craftsmen sell almost exclusively to tourists. So when you remove the "recycled" element of his products, all you get is a "gourmetized" piece of crap that you can buy anywhere in Brazil for 100th of the price.

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