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Gina Ferraraccio, founder of Cri de Coeur,  is one of the coolest chicks around, not only because she’s a kick-ass shoe designer who has been featured in Lucky, Elle, Marie Claire, Daily Candy and InStyle (just to name a few), but because her entire line of gorgeous, cutting-edge shoes and boots is 100% vegan.  How, you ask, can this be possible?  Read on to find out…

L&W- How did you come up with the concept for Cri de Coeur?

GF- I’ve been a vegetarian since I was around 15.  I was always super into fashion at the same time, and it was hard when I would go shopping and I would see all these leather shoes that were so amazing and I would want to buy them but would feel conflicted. And there weren’t really any good alternative options out there that were fashionable and cute.  So it had been a goal of mine for a while to start a vegan line of fashionable shoes.

L&W- What makes them vegan?

GF- “Vegan” means that there are no animal products whatsoever- so no leathers or glues that have animal products, the outsoles are not leather, and they’re made mostly with a faux leather that is polyurethane, which is environmentally friendly.  It’s better for the environment than PVC or vinyl.  I also use some ultra suede that’s made from recycled plastic and different textiles, like some cotton and hemp canvas for the uppers.  The soles are made of a thermo-plastic rubber.  They’re made mostly by hand in Portugal, but I am doing some domestic productions for this coming season, which is in Los Angeles.

L&W- That’s great!

GF- Yeah, it’s great to have some of them made domestically, for offestting the carbon when I ship and that sort of thing.

L&W- What boutiques are you selling in now?

GF- Some in New York and Los Angeles, a couple in England and a couple down south.  I also have a store on shopflick.com and endless.com.

L&W- I love the shopflick.com store because of the video of you talking about the line.

GF- Yes, me too.  It’s a good way to personalize each line they feature.

L&W- What else should people know about the Cri de Coeur line?

GF- Even a lot of people might not be vegan, the shoes are for everybody.  They’re not limited to a certain group.  The style and fashion-forwardness have always been my main focus when designing.  Also, people can sign up for our newsletter through the website, http://www.cri-de-coeur.com, to get info on the latest designs.

L&W- I LOVE my new Ariel boots!!  They’re amazing!!

GF- I’m so glad you like them!

L&W- So since you’ve gone to Parsons and are an amazing designer, will you send in a T-shirt design that I can feature on the blog as well?

GF- I would love to.

(see Gina’s T-shirt design below!  http://www.loveandwaterinternational.com/2009/11/design-9-gina-ferraraccio-of-cri-de.html)

Visit Cri de Coeur and sign up for the newsletter here:
Shop online for Cri de Coeur here: www.shopflick.com
Join the Cri de Coeur Facebook Fan Page here: http://www.facebook.com/#/pages/Cri-de-Coeur/55144755895?ref=search&sid=714264300.3093268521..1