Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Matt Priest and Andy Polk from the FRDA (Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America) for a conversation about Intellectual Property in footwear, teaching shoe design at CCA in San Francisco and the 2019 launch of a footwear brand I co-founded earlier this year.

Caroline de Baere / footwear brand BENDY by Ashbury Skies

Check out the podcast interview here in episode number 185:

To check out other episodes go here:

Innovation and Intellectual Property rights are at the forefront of so many conversations as well as controversies today within the footwear industry. Design innovation is a topic I discuss with my footwear design students at California College of the Arts during their coursework. It seems that weekly we hear of brands filing lawsuits or making powerful statements to protect their Intellectual Property rights across many industries. There have been between four to six thousand IP cases filed annually in United States District Court (USDC) from 2012 through 2018 according to the Bio Loquitur, a life sciences patent blog.

A few…

By Caroline de Baere

(illustration by Oscar Loeza)

Massive waste and pollution generated during footwear and apparel manufacturing is finally getting well deserved global attention, with everything from carbon emissions to raw materials and transportation under a microscope. But what about the other villain in the footwear pre-production and sample phase? While sustainable raw material sourcing for production manufacturing is a large part of the equation, what I want to address here is the massive volume of samples the footwear industry has produced and consider some of the many alternatives we have that create less negative impact to our planet.

Development prototypes and sales…

By Mary Sue Papale and Caroline de Baere

Caroline & Mary Sue at the San Francisco Urban Air Market — sustainable fashion pop-up

We know and love shoes. We have spent our entire careers in the footwear industry and witnessed radical change over the past 20 years in how shoes are distributed and sold. Little evolution, however, has occurred in how shoes are sourced and made.

The fashion industry has sacrificed the planet, and in many cases, the well-being of workers for the bottom line. …

I recently accepted a Faculty role at CCA (California College of the Arts) in San Francisco to become an Adjunct Professor in Footwear Design. Although I did not attend CCA, this University is quite special to me and I have presented a few guest lectures over the years. In addition, back in 2002, I hired a very talented Fashion Design student who had just graduated from CCA and worked with me for 9 years. I know the high caliber of individuals coming out of this program and felt honored to be invited to teach.

Fast forward a few months……

HIDENET EXCLUSIVE with Caroline de Baere, co-founder:

The story behind BENDY, the new eco-friendly leather flat

By Vera Dordick :

It seems that every week brings news of another footwear brand launching “sustainable” models that mistakenly eschew leather as an undesirable material. Enter BENDY, a leather flat that resembles a hybrid between a slip-on sneaker and an espadrille. The shoe boasts a low carbon footprint, generating only 4.5 pounds of greenhouse emissions compared to the 30 pounds generated by the average sneaker, identified through a life-cycle assessment conducted by the MIT Materials Systems lab, according to Fast Company.


A sleek, comfortable and super cush shoe: designed and developed in California.

The BENDY comes to life:

Check them out:

After 3 decades in footwear, IMAGINE designing, developing and producing a shoe in California. It’s like a dream come true; innovate a shoe that is ethically manufactured and great for your feet.

6 months ago my long-time and fellow industry friend Mary Sue contacted me. Over a glass of lemonade, we brainstormed creating and building a shoe with a conscience. Fast forward a few months with visits to a tremendous shoe factory in Los Angeles.

Caroline de Baere

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