Incorporating sustainability in footwear
With a deep-rooted passion for sustainable fashion, founder Myra launched her own brand My|Ra post working with a French footwear company for 2 years
Myra AgarwalAn artistic amalgamation of modern designs and classic artisanal leather, MY|RA is a homegrown label, developing and creating eco-friendly footwear for earthy souls. MY|RA is a partially vegan, sustainable and 100% Made in India footwear brand.
Founded in 2019 by Myra Agarwal, MY|RA is a footwear e-tailer that artistically combines modern designs with classic artisanal leather to create unique, tailored, and aesthetic handmade footwear. Their core values are represented by the 3C's; Comfortable, Chic and Conscious.
The brand uses organic dyes to colour the leather used for making its footwear in order to reduce chemical emissions, moving away from quintessential boxes with dye on the inside, My|Ra uses completely sustainable packaging. The handmade shoe making process commences after a style is selected, the souter hand cuts the uppers and soles from pattern pieces, thereafter stitching, punching and assembling the shoes.
Myra says, "Through My|Ra, we bring complete transparency with our customer, standing out from other brands on the market. Our target customer is the modern woman of today, fashionable and environmentally conscious. A seamless marriage of beauty, intention and timelessness, My|Ra brings forth affordable and stylish footwear ideal for all occasions."
The brand's core value lies in giving back to society and makes sure to reuse waste generated during production. Recycling leather scraps into making beautiful footwear for the underprivileged, Myra wishes to spread love and affect many lives through My|Ra in the coming future.
Sharing about what inspired Myra to start the venture, she says, "I worked in association with SAKS New York for 2 years, during which I got an opportunity to get associated with a couple of french shoe brands up-close. Though it was love at first sight, I had never imagined coming up with my own shoe brand. That happened when I moved to India in 2019 and started noticing a gap in the fashion industry, which was particularly big in the shoe industry. To elaborate, the shoes that were trendy were not very comfortable, the ones that were comfortable lacked aesthetic appeal, and the ones that were both comfortable and chic were quite expensive. While there were other things, I think my desire to bridge this gap served as my main inspiration to start my business."
They have a strong focus on sustainability and have actively tried to incorporate sustainable practices in each step of our supply chain.
"Whether it be packaging, choice of materials, or suppliers, we have been consciously making choices we believe will lead us to a win-win situation from a sustainability and design standpoint. We have a range of collections that caters to not just the young, but to all age groups. In fact, one of our first clients was a 75-year old woman who found our shoes not only trendy, but also comfortable," adds Myra.
Implementing sustainability, a big challenge The biggest challenge that they faced was implementing sustainable practices across their supply chain. For starters, it was not easy to find the right suppliers.
Myra said, "Our industry is filled with suppliers that engage in illicit practices, such as employing child labour, to unethically minimize their labour costs. To find one that was ethical and used vegan leather and dyes was an uphill battle. To do justice to our work towards sustainability, we wanted to use our waste scraps to manufacture shoes for the underprivileged, which was a tedious job."
In the next five years MY|RA aims to produce 100 per cent organic shoes for both men and women. "We would like to use cork for our soles and pineapple leaves as a substitute for leather. Essentially, we at MY|RA really aspire to become a truly sustainable lifestyle brand. We would like to have it no other way," adds Myra.