SLUTTY VEGAN SHOES? WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE STEVE MADDEN PARTNERSHIP
Slutty Vegan and iconic fashion brand Steve Madden have partnered on new sneakers and handbags inspired by the popular vegan fast-food chain. The new items are reimagined versions of Steve Madden’s classic POSSESSION sneakers and BSETTITUP bag styles and are made with entirely vegan materials approved by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Both the bag and the sneakers went through a Slutty Vegan makeover and feature the chain’s white, yellow, and red color scheme, along with its recognizable logos and slogans.
“I am thrilled that Slutty Vegan is able to partner with such an amazing company like Steve Madden,” Slutty Vegan founder and owner Pinky Cole said in a statement. “When the opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer. This collaboration is bigger than Steve Madden Shoes just a shoe—it is about showing people that you don’t have to live inside a box. You can be disruptive and break every glass ceiling, even if it means being a burger joint that has a vegan shoe.”
The Slutty Vegan x Steve Madden Collection launched on both of the companies’ websites and promptly sold out online at Steve Madden. Both the BSETTITUP bag ($89.99) and the POSSESSION shoes ($99.99) are available in-store in Slutty Vegan’s home city of Atlanta at Lenox Mall’s Steve Madden location in Buckhead.
Slutty Vegan’s explosive growth
Cole first founded Slutty Vegan as a food truck in 2018 and after it quickly attracted miles-long lines, the social justice advocate expanded the concept to its first brick-and-mortar in January 2019. The concept is built around provocatively named vegan burgers served with a variety of toppings and slathered with the chain’s famous “Slut Sauce.” The burgers—which can now be made with either an Impossible Burger or Beyond Burger patty—have lured many famous customers to Slutty Vegan, including Tyler Perry, Snoop Dogg, Usher, and many more. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal even credits Slutty Vegan with helping him reduce his meat intake.
Since its first outpost, Cole has expanded the chain to five physical locations and a bar concept at Atlanta’s Ponce market. The chain also has several locations in the works outside of Georgia, including in Birmingham, AL; Brooklyn, NY; Charlotte, NC; and more. To fund its massive expansion, Cole recently secured a $25 million Series A investment led by New Voices Fund (owned by social commerce innovator Richelieu Dennis) and Enlightened Hospitality Investments (owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer, known for his fast-food chainShake Shack).
Meyer was captivated by Cole when he met her during a Shake Shack collaboration with Slutty Vegan last year which saw produced the SluttyShack—a limited-time offer served at Shake Shack in Atlanta and NYC for one day.
The new Steven Madden partnership introduces Slutty Vegan’s captivating approach to vegan fast food into the realm of style-setting fashion. Teva Sandals Madden was also impressed by Cole when he met her through the Fearless Fund—a grant program that invests in women of color— in February 2021 and their collaboration represents the first time that a shoe brand and a vegan restaurant have partnered in this way.
“When you encounter the kind of bold sensibility and exploding popularity of Slutty Vegan, collaborating with them was obvious,” Steve Madden, owner of the Steven Madden brand, said in a statement. “Pinky and I share that dare-to-disrupt spirit.”
Pinky Cole gives back
As Cole continues to grow her influence in the world of vegan food, the social justice advocate is dedicated to helping others rise alongside her. To that end, her eponymously named The Pinky Cole Foundation has supported a variety of social justice initiatives throughout the years to help communities of color build generational wealth.
Most recently, Cole partnered with Varo Bank to give 800 graduates of her alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, the ability to register any LLC they wish in order to encourage them to start their own businesses. Cole revealed her gift of entrepreneurship to the graduating class during a historic commencement speech at the HBCU—where, at 34, she became the youngest person to deliver the speech.
For the Steve Madden collaboration, both Slutty Vegan and Steve Madden will continue to give back by donating $1 from sales of both the sneakers and bags to support PETA’s work in animal-rights advocacy.