Tanya Mulesa is a stylish British mom who loves fabulous footwear, and she spent thousands of pounds on heels. However, she has done her part for the planet and fashionistas alike by inventing a 12-in-one shoe that aims to streamline wardrobes.
The 35-year-old mom of one’s previous management role, working in sustainable energy, required her to travel for meetings all around the world, and she did it by matching her impressive knowledge with her dress sense. Tanya, though, said that she felt “hypocritical” for working in sustainability while owning more than 70 pairs of shoes, so she had the idea to change that.
She shared that she would stick to hand luggage at airports to avoid checking in bags, since every inch of her space would be filled with shoes.
Her true wake-up call, though, came when she, her husband, and her son moved to a new house, and she realized that she had so many pairs of shoes – many of which she never wore – holding valuable storage space.
She said that she thought she was a hypocrite being so consumerist while working in sustainability, and she kept thinking about what a gap in the market there was for shoes that are built to last, but can also be adapted for different styles and occasions. As she knows it first-hand, modern shoes are not build to last, and brands want you to wear them out and buy a new pair next season.
One day, while shopping with a friend, she fell in love with some flat ballet pumps with bright orange accessories stuck on the toes. However, she realized that if she got them, she would be buying yet more cheap shoes that would fall apart a few months later, and the main thing she liked was the accessory they came with. So, she told her friend: “Wouldn’t it be great if you could get interchangeable accessories for your shoes?”.
The cogs started turning with that, and Tanya wanted to produce a shoe that could be customized according to trends, occasions, and personal style, with easily changeable accessories. She interviewed 500 different women to share their opinion about her idea, and she was delighted when most of them agreed that they would be interested in the modular shoe.
Tanya shared that she started researching how she could combine her love of fashion and sustainability to create a multi-use, stylish, and comfortable flat shoe that would be eco-friendly at the same time. She found a few places that sell shoe clips online, but they were never great quality.
So, she started off her own sustainable footwear company named Cleverstein, and she produces her own visionary “chameleon shoe” which can be customized with 12 different accessories.
The shoe itself is an Audrey Hepburn-style ballet pump, and you can buy it in classic black or neutral tones for around $300.
The shoe is made from good quality leather, and Tanya shares that they’re built to last. You can choose from a range of 12 different accessories, and each one of them costs £29 (~$36). They’re threaded onto a belt-style strap across the shoe, and they completely transform it.
Tanya explained that they have three categories of accessory: casual, evening, and office.
In order to make her brand as sustainable as possible, the accessories are made from handbag scraps, and she has introduced a scheme to her customers in which she offers discounts off their next purchase if they donate an old pair, which don’t have to be an old pair of Cleverstein shoes.