Nōskin RAYDAR Interview Press Photo

Nōskin is The Australian-Based Footwear Label Creating All-Vegan Boots

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Nōskin RAYDAR Interview Press Photo

Born in the creative and vibrant heart of Melbourne in 2020, Nōskin is far from ordinary. It’s the embodiment of a revolution, a fusion of aesthetics and ethics, and the result of a collective of passionate individuals. With a rebellious spirit and a rock-and-roll heart, the rising footwear label stands for the dreamers, the rebels, and the change-makers.

Among the standout pieces in Nōskin’s core collection are four unique styles: the Signature Chelsea Boot, Combat Boot, Derby Shoe, and Mater Loafer. Each boot, handmade in an all-vegan Brazilian factory, is a testament to the brand’s commitment to ethical fashion. The boots feature the signature thick sole and attention to detail, promising durability and style without compromising the brand’s core principles.

The Signature Chelsea Boot, for instance, reimagines the classic design with modern materials, delivering a versatile and stylish boot that can keep up with anything life throws at you. Available in both black and brown, the vegan leather upper is water-resistant and its snug fit against the ankles makes it great for pairing with any bottoms. The Combat Boot, on the other hand, is ready for action, promising to be your reliable partner in your daily adventures. Much like the label’s name, it stays true to its vision, carefully selecting alternative materials for its footwear and clothing that not only match but exceed its animal product counterparts.

Even as the ever-busy designer at the helm of an exponentially-growing brand, founder Antony Corrales exudes an aura that is both genuine and welcoming. Check out our interview with Nōskin below.

What inspired you to start Nōskin and for those unfamiliar, how did you come up with the name?

When I had the first idea, it was a very different vision from what we ended up launching. In the lead-up to my wedding in 2020, I was looking for a suit for the occasion. I’ve always been a lover of well-made and tailored clothing, so I was looking at a number of brands to get something for the day. However, being vegan, I found that every product that claimed ‘quality’ was made from wool, silk, or other materials that didn’t align with my vegan values.

This prompted me to start an online directory of high-quality products from a variety of brands that didn’t use animal materials or products. As my research developed, I found that many of the existing vegan brands were making great products, but didn’t necessarily speak to the style, aesthetic, or quality I wanted to see. So I decided to go ahead with my own brand to bring that to the market.

With that context, the name Noskin is pretty direct. We make footwear that doesn’t use animal skin.

Australia is home to some of the most well-known footwear labels, both internationally and domestically. Does your native country influence your design at all?

There’s no doubt that Australia has some iconic footwear. Although I’ve lived in Australia for nearly 8 years, I grew up in the UK, and I think it’s the mix of these two cultures that has had a big influence. Australian footwear can often be focussed on durability and simplicity in styles such as the Chelsea Boot, with a real connection to the outdoors. Whereas the UK brings in a raw connection between fashion and music. This is where a lot of our core range takes influence.

There’s a clear influence in our designs from the UK punk scene that I grew up around. Even in the early 2000s, there was still a strong old-school punk scene in the area where I grew up. Creating your own clothing, and painting statements onto your jacket and boots was a big part of expression.

It’s because of this that we spend a big chunk of our time on promoting artists, hosting sessions in our showroom, and sharing what we find in the local scenes. The brand is as much about sharing the culture we love as it is about creating products.

What is your design process like when developing a new collection or footwear?

This has changed recently, in a way that’s been really exciting. We now have our ‘Core Collection’ which features some of the styles we’ve offered since day one and these are always available. But we now do four releases a year that are more conceptual. Instead of releasing products that are based on seasons, or trends, we’re doing releases based on things that have been inspiring us, and turning that into shoe designs. Often this can mean we get a cool idea for a shoot or campaign based on a concept, and then develop the shoes with this in mind.

In June we’ll be launching The Midnight Collection, as part of the ‘Check-In After Midnight’ campaign. This is based on the history of patent leather, which I went down a rabbit hole of when looking into The Beatles and ‘Beatle Boots’ and combining that with some of the true rock n roll spirit of the 60s and 70s. So look out for late-night hotel rooms with amazing suits (in collaboration with Anna Cordell) and patent leather shoes in our upcoming campaign.

The Signature Chelsea Boot is a classic and quickly becoming one of the label’s most popular silhouettes. Can you talk to us about reinventing a cult favorite and adding your modern spin to it?

The Chelsea boot nearly didn’t make it into the original collection, as with my UK influence, I wanted our hero piece to be the Combat Boot. However, our co-founder and designer Ash (who is fully Australian) insisted that there was no way we could launch without a Chelsea boot. (She made a good call. This boot has been an outright favorite for the first two years of our brand)

We added a modern spin by using high-quality innovative vegan leather for a classic silhouette, but we then decided to re-design our first prototype, putting it onto the same chunky sole that we designed for our Combat Boot. Once we got this design revision in-hand, we decided that this sole took every silhouette and made it feel ours, so now all Nōskin shoes include the same signature sole.

Sustainability and ethics are core values of Nōskin. Can you tell us about any unexpected challenges you’ve faced in maintaining these values, and how you’ve overcome them?

This is something I could talk about all day, but there are definitely challenges in maintaining these values. Ultimately, there is what I refer to as the trifecta of ethics in fashion. The people, the planet, and the animals. The challenge that seems to be encountered in many cases (especially for a smaller company) is ticking boxes in all three of these areas. There are fantastic companies out there using innovative materials that require no animal products and are at least somewhat sustainable, but the manufacturing practices aren’t particularly transparent.

There are many companies that are creating in great local factories, and producing locally can immediately be more sustainable than shipping fabric and products all around the world, but they’re using animal materials. And then you have companies like us, who have best-in-class manufacturing where everyone is paid a living wage and we have extreme transparency, and we produce our footwear in an entirely vegan factory. However, we still aim to use more sustainable materials than the microfibre PU that we currently use.

This material is still more environmentally friendly than animal leather, but there are more sustainable alternatives. However, in doing small batch manufacturing in ethical factories, at this stage, we can’t introduce these materials at a cost-effective price that would see us still being in business in six months.

It’s not something we’re afraid to share, as it’s something we’re working towards every day, and we have a ‘no bullshit’ policy when it comes to how we perform in the trifecta of ethics. We’re hoping to fully migrate our Core Collection to be made from ‘Mirum’ in the next 18 months, but it’s a journey to get there and educate customers why our products will come with a higher price tag.

Recently, you also made your first foray into the world of clothing, launching The Bomber Jacket. What you can tell us about your experience creating vegan, sustainable garments and how much does it differ from creating footwear?

This was actually the other way around. The bomber jacket is our last foray into clothing! (for now) When we started, in addition to footwear, we offered denim and shirting. However, we made the decision at the end of 2022 to focus our efforts on being the best fucking vegan footwear brand in the world, and that’s what we are doing as of now. However, our Bomber Jacket had become a bit of a cult favorite, so we decided to keep this one in the collection, almost as the band t-shirt of the brand.

Lastly, can you give us a little sneak peek into what’s in store for Noskin’s future—any upcoming collections, collaborations, or events that fans should be excited about?

We are opening pre-orders for The Midnight collection at the start of June, with the full launch coming in July. After that, we’ll be leaking some sneak peeks of the following collection, which I’m extremely excited about, and takes some real inspiration from the Mods Vs Rockers riots in Brighton, England in the 1960s.