Renewed Collective

Brand Q&A with aciae

Sustainable footwear can be difficult to find and challenging to create, but aciae is showing us that it’s possible. Revolutionising the sustainable footwear market by not only creating shoes from post-consumer materials, including ocean-bound plastics, they design shoes that are stylish and comfortable to wear. With circularity at the core of their value’s, this Australian based brand is proudly transparent in every process of their sustainable business. aciae’s mission is twofold: to drastically reduce waste and offer trendsetting, inclusive fashion, respecting both the environment and people.

We had a chat to the Founder of aciae, Tina to find out more.

When did aciae begin?

Four years ago, before COVID, I was traveling a lot for work. I constantly needed professional shoes that were both comfortable and stylish. I never liked heels, and after lockdown, my discomfort grew. It was during this time that I was deeply involved with transformation work for larger corporates. The idea of pushing sustainable development in business wasn’t just a wish; I truly believed we could make it a reality. For nearly a year, aciae was a passion project. It all began with my wish to free women, like myself, from heels in their work attire and to champion sustainable fashion.

What was the inspiration behind aciae?

aciae is inspired by powerful women, both those who’ve influenced me and those who we hope to inspire. The brand is a call for women to be part of the sustainable development movement and feel empowered in it.

aciae’s mission and commitment to sustainability is incredible, including your ‘Circle to Zero’ principle. Can you tell us a bit about what ‘Circle to Zero’ is?

Certainly. At aciae, our guiding principle is ‘Circle to Zero’: Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose. It embodies our aim for zero waste and zero harm. The concept is that you have got to start from zero waste and zero pollution first to be circled back to zero. With advancements in technology, we’re paving a way to cater to our fashion needs without using new materials. Instead, we’re giving a new life to waste, ensuring it gets used again and again.

You focus on recycled materials in the manufacturing of your footwear range, including the innovative fibre Repreve®. What are some of the features and benefits of your shoes?

Our shoes are not just about avoiding heels; they’re built for comfort. They accommodate all types of feet, giving ample space, especially around the toes. What’s unique is that you can wash them in wash machines with cold water, extending their lifespan (back to its sustainability). And no, they’re not made from any animal product, making them vegan-friendly.

aciae sustainable footwear

aciae’s shoes are not only sustainable but so stylish too! Do you have a favourite style in the range?

Thank you! My heart is set on our signature ballet flats. I had a hand in their design. They’re chic with a touch of uniqueness, moving away from the typical pointed look. The heart shape gives them a soft, romantic edge.

What aspect of the business do you enjoy most?

Speaking with customers. Both the praises and the critiques. It’s heartening when they mention the comfort of our shoes, surprised by how the textile is made from recycled plastics, or how being a part of aciae makes them feel connected to the sustainable fashion movement. We want aciae to be a place where everyone, like you and me, can contribute to the circular economy.  

What do you find most challenging?

Shoes! Making them was more challenging than I thought. I remember discussions with suppliers about starting a fashion label. It took us months to get the shoe design right. Someone once mentioned that I chose the most challenging fashion item to craft. But I saw shoes as a conscious choice, thinking they’re more of a thoughtful purchase compared to other clothing items like t-shirts. 

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

The impact reports for aciae. Seeing the tangible results like the number of bottles we’ve turned into shoes or understanding our carbon footprint, how our suppliers are working with us to protect human rights, how consumer involves in the contribution to our sustainable development goals, It gives a clear picture of our journey towards our net zero initiatives, and zero waste zero harm vision. 

Do you have a morning routine?

Yes, simple but meaningful to me. I start by checking how our store is doing, followed by a coffee, and then I take my dog, Archie, for a walk, while I mentally establish what I need to get done on the day. 

What’s your favourite way to move your body?

I admit, I could be more active. But I truly cherish walking Archie, playing fetch, or just running around with him at the beach.

Your favourite way to unwind?

Light-hearted TV shows. My partner finds it amusing how I can just lie down and enjoy shows like ‘Love at First Sight’ or ‘Bridgeton’. It’s my escape from the day-to-day grind.

Your favourite quote?

While I don’t have an all-time favourite, quotes that resonate with my current feelings draw me in. I’ve been reading Cassandra Goodman’s book “Being True”, available on Audible. There’s this quote by Tara Brach in it: “When I’m being true to my deepest self, it doesn’t really cause harm to anybody. It actually serves the greatest good.” It perfectly captures how I feel about my work at aciae. Even with challenges and self-doubt, I know I’m being genuine in my efforts.

You can find aciae in our Eco Directory, and check out the full aciae range on their website or follow them on instagram.

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