I love Meghan Markle, I do! I’m a huge fan of hers because of the social justice issues she supports, her feminist points of view, and of course — I love her fashion sense. Naturally, when I saw her wearing tan-colored huaraches my Mexican-American heart palpated with joy. That was short-lived when I saw the price tag on those shoes. A whopping $250.
During their 10-day trip to South Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex brought awareness to the many issues they care about from female empowerment, the importance of access to education, wildlife, among other issues.
The new parents have met with countless people while visiting there and Markle’s wardrobe has also caught our eye with her great outfits and wardrobe staples. But the huaraches she was seen wearing throughout their Africa trip gave us some pause.
I have several of those shoes myself, but there’s no way in hell I paid $250 for them. I did, however, pay 250 pesos.
But it’s important to note that Markle’s huaraches aren’t just random picks.
There’s always careful consideration that goes behind her fashion choices, and these huaraches are no different. Sold by Brother Vellies, a Brooklyn-based company that sells handcrafted fashion staples made in Africa, the huaraches are retailed at $225.00 for women and $195.00 for men.
According to the company’s website, they aim to introduce “the rest of the world to [founder Aurora James’] favorite traditional African footwear, while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs within Africa. Handmade in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco, Brother Vellies creates boots, shoes, and sandals in styles that maintain the spirit and durability of their ancestral counterparts.”
As far as the huaraches go, the website states that they’re “a little update to our favorite handwoven braided leather sandal. Made in México. The name ‘huarache’ comes from ‘kwarachi’ in the Purépecha language spoken in the highlands of Michoacán.”
Now that’s all fine and good, but people should know huaraches, sold in Mexico and all over Latin America marketplaces, don’t cost anywhere near that much.
But we get it, luxury brands with the intent of supporting local artisans come with a price. I can’t afford to help that cause at $250, but for that price, I can pay for a plane ticket to Mexico, pay 250 pesos for leather shoes, and give the money directly to the local artisans who desperately need each peso.
It’s simply hard to trust the intentions or know where our money is going if not we’re directly supporting these local artisans. I mean, we’ve seen everyone from Forever 21, ASOS, and Urban Outfitters try to tell us either shoes or other Mexican-crafted shirts, shoes, and bags for a fast-fashion price.
While I applaud Markle for making a statement through her huaraches, a shoe that’s been a part of Mexican culture since forever, I’m also a bit skeptical and would urge anyone who wants to emulate her style to instead of buying hundred dollar shoes — take that money and visit Mexico. You will be floored by the incredible fashion that costs a fraction of what it does in the states. If you want to support Mexican locals even more, then offer more. But this way, you’ll be directly putting your money into their pockets.