Looking for that one-of-a-kind sandal? Omes, a British-based supplier of wooden soles, wedges and clogs produced in Cameroon, has launched a collection of women’s styles featuring interchangeable colorful fabric uppers.
The shoes come in wedge and high-heel styles. Both can be personalized with decorative cloths and ribbons tied in multiple ways. Packaged in a shoebox made of sustainable wood, each pair comes with two sets of satin ribbons in different colors.
According to Omes cofounder Peter Glidwitz, the shoes were designed by Cameroon shoemaker Mr. Nyam, who created a fabric sandal in the 1990s that became popular in his native country. Mr. Nyam’s business, however, was negatively impacted by the volume of imported second-hand shoes and those donated by charitable groups.
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Three years ago, however, Mr. Nyam’s luck changed when a friend of Gildwitz’s came across the sandals while on a business trip in Cameroon and tracked down the maker. The three partnered to launch Omes, which began with a fair-trade factory in Cameroon that produced wooden heels and clogs for other shoe brands and designers. Since Omes is a fair-trade manufacturer, each pair sold contributes to reducing poverty in Cameroon.
The collection is available worldwide online, with the sandals retailing for about $74.