For my first brand spotlight, I want to introduce you to Austin-based shoe and accessories company Fortress of Inca. I love all of their shoes styles, but especially their ethically made booties. While in Austin, Diamonds Are Evil (my jewelry and accessories brand) shared a studio space with Fortress of Inca. We got to know the founder, Evan Streusand, and Marketing and Operations Manager, Mong Bui, pretty well during this time. It was cool to hear his founding story first hand and see the way his brand was developing.
Shoes / Fortress of Inca / This low black booties has become a staple in my shoe wardrobe. It’s dressier than a desert boot, but still casual for everyday.
Jeans / Paige Denim / I wear the Hoxton High Waist Ultra Skinny Stretch Jeans almost daily right now. The high waist ensures that I don’t have to worry about them slipping too low when I bend over, and the stretch allows for easy squatting and movement throughout the day.
Purse / Sold Out / Here’s a similar, super cute, camel crossbody bag!
Bracelet / Zanny Adornments / One of my friends based in Austin, Texas made this lovely bracelet. I love wearing it! It reminds me both of her and the fun years I spent in Austin.
Fortress of Inca has four main beliefs that drive the way they run their business – from the design, to the factory, to the shelves.
Premium Natural Materials
The handmade aspect comes from the initial discovery of handcrafted Peruvian boots. In 2004, Streusand was backpacking through South America and stumbled across colorful, lambskin-lined, locally-made boots. The idea of mixing traditional Incan textiles with the modern boot silhouette intrigued him, and he eventually brought these handcrafted boots to the States – the beginning of Fortress of Inca. The boots are still handmade in Peru by skilled craftsmen.
Fortress of Inca uses South American leather, Peruvian wood and local Peruvian rubber whenever possible. They only use the highest quality materials available. With regard to sustainability,
leather shoes are a helpful way to use a byproduct of another industry (meat) that otherwise would be organic waste and very harmful to the planet.
Around ten million tons of hides are produced each year by the meat industry. Fortress of Inca sees creating leather shoes as an ethical way to utilize these hides.
Their belief that workers receive fair wages is an important ethical consideration. Their factories are audited and investigated to make sure that the workers are being paid a fair living wage and social security insurance, as well as receiving adequate time off.
In addition to having a strong ethical stance, the shoes themselves are amazing! Each pair is so unique, comfortable and easy to wear with almost anything. Here are a few of my favorites:
Fortress of Inca is based in Austin, Texas. And can be found online here :: website
little by little, one walks far.
Be sure and check out their website next time you need shoes and want to support a business that focuses on ethically made fashion and accessories. Follow along on their journey @fortressofinca
What are some of your favorite ethical fashion brands? I’m always on the lookout for new brands, especially ethically made booties!