Blackspot Sneaker (Source: blackspotsneaker.org)

Blackspotters,

We found it! After two years of researching shoe plants in Slovakia, Poland, Indonesia, China and South Korea, the hunt for our factory is over.

When the search started, we found Phil Knight's Nike had plunged sneaker manufacturing into a macabre scene of export processing zones and sweatshop labor. To make a sneaker, all roads led to the Orient, but factories there didn't meet our standards.

Then Robin Webb of Vegetarian Shoes in England suggested a family-owned factory in Portugal's Felgueiras region. Our creative director spent a few days inspecting the facility: it has a union which workers can join, wages that are comparatively high, and gives one month paid vacation - plus two months salary bonus at Christmas. Since it comes from Portugal's centuries old tradition of shoe craftsmanship, it can also make shoes of the highest quality.

Blackspot is vegetarian - we're using no animal products whatsoever. It's made with hemp - good hemp. Our Romanian hemp supplier is an industry leader whose manufacturing process uses no chemicals, and whose hemp is certified organic.

So far, we've received 8,300 pre-orders. As soon as we have pictures of the actual shoe, we'll post them on our site with the official orders form. In the meantime, why not urge your friends to take the plunge by going to blackspot.org to reserve a pair.

When you buy a pair of Blackspots, you get a share that allows you to cast internet votes on the design of future prototypes, factory options, and how to spend the money we make. Eventually, we want to create our own cooperative factory. The Blackspot is an unfolding experiment in bottom-up capitalism.

The Blackspot is an attempt to launch an antilogo, an anticorporation, and a shoe to kick Phil Knight and the avatars of "cool" in the ass. We're going to cut into Nike's market share and change the way the industry is run. When we hit the market early this fall, you can bet the battle will get interesting. Go to <http://www.blackspotsneaker.org> for updates. Email <sharon@adbusters.org> if you have questions.

- The Blackspot team


The last time I bought sneakers was about four or five years ago, for high school cross country. Later, I would read Adbusters and begin to sneer at the crass materialism of my peers. When I first heard about the blackspot campaign, I promised myself that they would be my next pair (besides, the aforementioned sneakers were Nikes, and this seemed like a good way to repent).

Since there was no news on the website about the troubles with finding a factory or any reasons for what seemed like a lack of progress, I had assumed that the campaign had gone into the AdBusters dustbin. Either way, blackspotsneaker.org suggests that they will be ready for delivery in September, so I look forward to purchasing a pair to welcome the new school year.