Heading over to Shoreditch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon last week, we were surprised and thrilled to discover the quaint sp City Farm just a stone’s throw away from the City (somewhere we usually strictly do not frequent on the weekends).
Stopping off to ‘aww’ at the bunnies and admire the picturesque charm of this community space on the way in, we met Hafiza and Ruhela on the benches next to the yurt (yes, yurt) where the workshop was prepared for us. This weekend, we were making handcrafted espadrilles with Juta Shoes!
(Yes – we made those!)
To start with, we got stuck in with choosing the appropriate shoe sizes for our soles and planning what colours and materials we wanted to use for our snazzy espadrilles. Our wonderful hosts had a range of colours in different leathers for us to choose from and we were encouraged to mix it up and experiment. Once we had squabbled over who got which colour and each pronounced our own imagined espadrilles to be the coolest, it was time to pay attention to the demo… “Seems easy enough!” we thought, and off we went. The next hour or two were filled with tracing and cutting around the stencils and then the much-harder-than-it-looks sewing of the shoes. We sat in the glorious afternoon sun and happily found the sewing intensely satisfying, even more so when the surrounding playing children cautiously approached us with deep curiosity and the onlooking mothers loudly complimented our handiwork.
One of our favourite parts of the workshop was hearing from Hafiza and Ruhela the story behind Juta Shoes. Founded by Joanna and Sabeha, two women involved in the St Hilda’s community centre, Juta Shoes’ mission is to provide well-paid, flexible employment to the members of their local community in East London. They also believe in sustainability; the name Juta is derived from ‘jute’ which is the environmentally-friendly material from which the soles are made and all the leather used is sourced as factory waste destined for landfills. What a fantastic company to work with!
The result speaks for itself. Now you can design and make your own unique bespoke pair of sustainable leather espadrilles with Juta Shoes on EmptyChair! This one is really not to miss.