Friday, May 25, 2012

nomad to the bone

by frédérik

Just as I was bemoaning the challenges in finding eco-conscious fashion without some sort of labeling regime, I got roped in by Nomadic State of Mind. Although I have worn rope sandals in the past – alas, that pair from major name didn’t prove especially durable – I hadn’t really given them much thought until this free-spirited retailer caught my attention. Describing themselves as a “group of planet wanderers” who temporarily put up their gear to establish some kind of permanent presence, North Carolina-based Nomadic State of Mind is a grassroots social enterprise that illustrates how doing business can also mean doing good.

In this case, wanderer-in-chief Chris Anderson took a company from a ’69 VW van to a larger group effort whose work combines ecological awareness with community-building. Their soled sandals are made in the US using abandoned “vintage” equipment and made-in-the-USA Vibram soles, while non-soled rope sandals come from a non-operational coffee farm in Nicaragua. (As the website tells it, Chris taught a small community how to make sandals, and create sustainable income-generating employment. He has since worked with the same group of artisans for 8 years.)

Among the materials they use are reclaimed polypropylene cord, sustainably harvested wood, eco heather, organic cotton – all in  a process that reuses waste as much as possible. Apparently, they don’t even ship their sandals in a box. To reduce wasteful packaging, they simply put them in a USPS mail bag tied with a string.

This, readers, is precisely the sort of company I like to see. Fun, good, and mindful of planet and people. To delve a bit deeper, I contacted Chris for an interview. Since this is the busy summer sandal season, however, it will be a while before that comes together. In the meantime, here’s a stroll through their catalog of smile-inducing bohemian wares:

Ecolyte, Argyle Strap with Hemp Pho Fur - $39.99

JC Sandals - $34.95, on sale for $29.95

JC Sandal with Sole - $49.99 on sale for $47.95

My favourite sandal by far is the distinctive Romano gladiator sandal, which can be fitted with interchangeable coloured laces. The moment it comes in black with a sole, I’m quick-drawing my wallet.

Romano Gladiator Sandals - $34.99 on sale for $30.00

Beyond sandals, Nomadic State of Mind also offers organic tees, hoodies, hammocks, jewelry, rope art, and accessories. For example, these pretty things:

Nomo Hoop Earrings, 1.25" Oak - $16.00

Large Hand Bag - $34.00

There you have it. Ecological, stylish, and with a great attitude. What more can you ask for?

To see more, visit the website at And stay tuned for that interview with Chris.

Disclaimer: Images borrowed from under fair use for illustrative purposes.


Mica said...

Really like those gladiator sandals too! I do wonder how comfortable they would be, never having owned rope anything before and my only experience with ropes being outdoors-ey they didn't feel very soft.

Frederik Sisa said...

The rope is actually very soft, and the sandals won't chafe. I didn't have any comfort problems with the pair I had from a different brand, so I can't imagine that the ones from Nomadic would be any different.

Jim said...

I'd like to try the rope sandals. I think they look cool.

Frederik Sisa said...

Go for it, Jim. :) The pair I had received much admiration, and I quite enjoyed wearing them! I was probably too hasty in disposing of them. As I understand now, there are ways of dealing with frayed edges thatr etores the good, rather than shabby, looks.

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