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Cruelty-Free Plastic Melissimas (If You Try Sometimes, You Get What You Need!)

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With shoes, as with everything, you can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you really needed. This is about a journey away from wanting (a pair of vintage shoes) to finding something more meaningful -- plastic shoes that offer both incredible style and compassion.

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Last summer, I fell for a pair of stacked-heel shoes while researching Fred Slatten. This 1970's-era shoe with a side buckle seemed perfect in its design. I hoped to snap them up. But this was one pair. The size was too small. They were already sold. They lived on a page at Featherstone Vintage and still do. I don't know where they live outside the virtual world and who might be wearing them. Someone who wears a 6.5.

Soon after, I searched for a new pair of Mary Jane shoes. As a Mary Jane aficionado, I always have some version of the style. Searching online, I found a pair that struck me instantly. Sleek, shiny, a unique take on the classic, with a very pointed toe. I discovered they were made of plastic -- PVC. These Mary Jane shoes, which I now have and wear often, are the cutest I'd seen in a long time. They are also cruelty-free.

Melissa is a Brazilian company. The 'Melissima' + Karl Lagerfeld (I have the polished, shiny black version) were more affordable than other shoes I had considered. They are comfortable. They do not stretch. Technically, if I am ever through with wearing them in the (distant) future, they can even be recycled.

Having given up on the fashion industry, taking a stand against magazine editors who continue the needless and emblematically cruel practice of featuring real fur on their pages by unsubscribing to their publications, these Melissa shoes have been worth getting excited about. A transition away from leather goods does not seem difficult.

Instead of getting what I originally wanted, I got the future -- and the compassion in fashion I choose to expect. Supporting progressive brands in a consumer-driven world is key to a cruelty-free movement.

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