The Green in Michael Fox (Shoes of Prey)

 The Green in…‘ Is a series of interviews with people who are nurturing green ideas within their daily lives, without giving up their day jobs. 

The Green in…Michael Fox – Q&A

What’s your personal elevator pitch/introduction?

I’m a co-founder and COO of Shoes of Prey, an online retailer that allows women to design their own shoes which we handmake and ship to them -www.shoesofprey.com (requires a VPN to access in China). I blog about running the business at www.22michaels.com.


Tell me about an interesting green initiative you’ve heard about or worked on.

The principle behind our business has a strong green base to it. The normal process in the fashion industry is for a select group of designers to attempt to predict what is going to be popular at the start of each fashion season. Large quantities of these products are then mass produced and delivered to stores. Some products sell well which is great. Others prove to be unpopular. This excess product is usually sold at steep discounts to encourage people to consume the products when they otherwise would not have. This whole process results in the fashion industry producing and consumers owning far more product than is necessary at a significant cost to the environment.

Shoes of Prey is part of a movement towards mass customisation. We don’t try to predict what products are going to sell well next season, instead we let the consumer design exactly what they want to purchase which we then produce and deliver direct to the customer. We don’t manufacture anything unless it’s exactly what a customer wants to purchase, so we don’t discount and sell excess stock to consumers who otherwise wouldn’t have purchased an extra pair of shoes. It’s our vision that in the future the majority of our fashion purchasing will be done in this way, resulting in less unneeded consumerism and less waste.

How are you green in your daily life?

My parents brought me up with a very green take on life. While in the grand scheme of things they’re relatively small contributions:

  • I’ve always recycled, 
  • I reuse shopping bags as garbage bags,
  • I turn light switches off and limit my use of air-conditioning and heating (an electric blanket is much more efficient than leaving the heating on all night),
  • I don’t own a car – I walk, bike, take public transport and use GoGet, a car sharing company in Australia when I do need a car,
  • While I’m not a vegetarian I try to eat less meat and when I do I try to eat more environmentally friendly meats like kangaroo (I live in Australia). My favourite dish to cook is a kangaroo korma!
  • Two years ago I wrote to the delicious chicken burger chain Oportos encouraging them to install recycle bins in their restaurants. They followed up and did this 2 months later.  :)

How often do you think about green issues?

Choosing between the recycling bin and rubbish bin is a great daily reminder, as is turning off light switches, heating and air-conditioning. We regularly have decisions to make in the operation of our business Shoes of Prey, and the environmental impact is something we factor into this decision making.

Who inspires the green in you?

Al Gore would have to be my number 1 green inspiration. His documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ saw a tipping point in the global warming debate. Literally overnight, this topic came onto the radar of the general population and now we’re seeing the results in Australia with the government proposing a tax on carbon to discourage carbon intensive energy production. One can only wonder what might have been had Al Gore won the 2000 US presidential election…

Witnessing one person make such a positive impact on the world, is hugely inspiring.

Green Articles, blogs or books you recommend…

Is anyone left who hasn’t yet seen ‘An Inconvenient Truth’?

The Watermelon Blog is one of my favourites. David Horton is an ex-Zoologist, archaeologist and farmer and writes a great blog mixing conservationism, science, politics and other progressive thinking.

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2 Responses to The Green in Michael Fox (Shoes of Prey)
  1. David Horton

    Emily, thank you, great compliment, glad you like my work – but it’s David Horton!

  2. Emily D'Ath

    Sorry David, I’ve changed it!

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