The word sustainability has been used and abused so many times, it’s hard to figure out what it’s really about. But, take the marketing out of it and you can boil it down to actions. Sustainability is simply about doing what is right for our planet. Optimising resources and minimizing waste, while treating animals and humans right.
Designing with the customer
Roccamore is a small brand, so we have to be smart, in order to survive in today’s crowded market. To make sure we keep the design interesting and relevant for our customers, we include them in the designing process, from beginning to end. All new shoes are developed based on customer needs and dreams, and colours and materials are chosen online by customer votes. This way of working optimizes the design while staying in touch with customer needs and minimize dead stock. Most luxury brands will burn dead stock rather than having too many sales that will hurt the brand value.
Comfort is key
Roccamore makes comfortable high heels, so the fit is obviously very important. New models are always tested on both customer and team feet, to collect as much feedback as possible and develop the best possible fit. It takes about 4 samples to achieve the perfect fit for maximum comfort. As soon as a model has been approved, it goes online in pre-order, giving customers a chance to secure their pair fast and roccamore a chance to understand if the shoe is really a hit or just pretty to look at. This way, roccamore keeps orders more precise and ensures the least waste possible.
Good things take time
Roccamore shoes are produced in a small family-owned factory in Tuscany, alongside Valentino. The factory was founded in 1924 by 3 brothers and their sons have carried it on through 3 generations. Still today everything is run by traditional principles and overseen by Giovanni at 92, who follows everything from his corner of the factory. Our shoes are high quality and will last much, much longer than mass-market shoes. Working with a small factory, we can better control the process, allowing the proper time for each step. For instance, when you last
a shoe, the design has to rest on a plastic shape (the last) for a min. of 12 hours in order to obtain the perfect fit. In fast fashion, everything happens, well, fast… so the shoes are usually only allowed to rest 1-2 hour. Time is money and lasts are expensive. Which is one of the reasons a Zara shoe never really fits any feet.
Sustainability is also about treating people right. In this world, where everything has to move so fast and always be the cheapest possible, people are often forgotten. Made in Italy is a strong brand, but it has become more complex over the years and the concept is abused more often than not. Many brands produce outside of Italy, typically Bulgaria, to then ship everything to be assembled in Italy and therefore “Made in Italy.” Other brands create their own low-cost environment, like Prato, the most Chinese city in all of Tuscany. The place is filled with big factories, where Chinese people are imported to work 24-7 at impossible salaries. Everything in this city is Chinese, from people to stores, food, and even street names. In the end the product is made by Chinese, but “Made in Italy”.
Valentino red and Prada green
Finding the right materials is really hard. If you want to produce sustainably and can’t afford to colour your own batches of leather, you have to use what is already available. Tuscany has some of the best tanneries in the world and it’s the place where you can find almost anything, but as a small brand, you are always served last. The perk, though, is that you can work with much smaller quantities and leftover stock from the big brands. Material that would otherwise be burned because certain colours are seasonal and specially developed for a client that doesn’t want anyone else to have it. This season, we got our hands on some amazing green suede from Prada (used for our Charlie
) and a deep red velvet-suede from Valentino (used for our Grace
). The materials are only enough for limited editions, often around 50 pairs, which only just makes your roccamores even more special.
The future cow
All roccamore leather is pure by-product from the meat industry. So, as long as people eat meat, we will never have to kill a cow to make a pair of shoes and all excessive or old material is used to make asphalt or in the car industry. If we ever run out of cows, there are many ways of creating pretty and comfy footwear. I New York, Modern Meadow is growing real fake leather in a lab, in Sicily Orange Fiber is making materials out of oranges while they are growing new materials from mushroom at Kolding Design School.
See all our wonderful and sustainable ladies here ?