Footwear Plus | February 2021

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also recaptures depigmentation of water waste; and wood from ethically managed forests. Scoccia has done his eco-friendly materials homework, which has involved reaching out to hundreds of vendors, including ones from the automobile and furniture industries. “I’m committed to creating luxury sustainable shoes in a vegan and clean way,” he says, even if it’s not always easy convincing partner factories to join in his revolutionary approach to shoemaking. “I’ve had to convince families that had done their work the same way for generations to shift to a better mentality,” Scoccia adds. That effort extends to educating and enticing consumers as well, starting with O2 Monde’s more affordable luxury pricing (SRP: $268-$398) and a focus on seasonless styling. “By making high-quality footwear at a third of standard retail, women can afford luxurious, long-term staples to elevate their everyday outfit,” he says, adding that for every pair purchased, one percent of O2 Monde’s profits are donated to 1% for the Planet to offset environmental impacts. The brand is also official supporter of the animal rights group PETA. Sustainability never looked so It as if Scoccia has been preparing for this O2 Monde stylish: uppers are made of moment since childhood. Hailing from a footwearplant-based, recycled materials. making family, his father was his first inspiration to become a shoemaker. “I spent the afternoons working close to him and other old-school craftsmen to learn as much as I could about the shoemaking process,” he says. “That led to my footwear design calling. Most importantly, it instilled in me the idea of creating something on my own one day, as my dad did.” Like any good apprentice, Scoccia first gained O2 Monde raises the bar on sustainable design. valuable experience designing for Bottega Veneta and Tory Burch over the span of two-plus decades. At Bottega Veneta, he pushed the bar to make luxury shoes of the highest quality and reflect the brand’s heritage, while at Tory Burch he learned a great deal about the U.S. market IT’S LONG BEEN sustainable shoe design’s Achilles’ heel: as good as the and trends. The combination of experience, Scoccia says, is reflected in O2 products may be for the environment, when it comes to looking good…not Monde’s contemporary luxury design aesthetic. As for the sustainability angle, so much. Until now, aims Micro Scoccia, founder of O2 Monde, an Italianthat’s a personal mission to change the industry for the better. “After working crafted brand featuring a plethora of eco-friendly materials and best practices for more than 20 years for top luxury and contemporary brands, I wanted to packaged in couture-worthy styles. come up with a disruptive footwear project, while combining the best of my Take, for example, the Celia pump (pictured above) that’s made of Pinatex experience with today’s consumer values,” he says. “I’d like to permanently pineapple leaf fibers leathers and PLA, a bio-plastic sourced from renewable shift the luxury accessories paradigm by offering design-forward, truly susresources. On the green side of the ledger, the material requires no additional tainable, cruelty-free and exquisitely handcrafted footwear that honors the land, water, pesticides or fertilizers. It also provides pineapple famers with earth’s heritage and protects its future.” additional income and leftover biomass to be used as fertilizer. In addition, Just who might O2 Monde appeal to? Scoccia believes the target customer is the insoles are made of Freska, a vegan lining made of corn and cereal that someone similarly mindful about whatever they buy. “They are self-described is sustainable as well as functional as it’s extremely breathable, absorbent ‘conscious consumers,’” he says. “They’re deliberate with their purchases, and resistant for enhanced comfort. It’s also self-molding and more than 60 preferring artisan-made items and handcraftsmanship, with sustainable percent lighter than traditional leathers of equal thickness. Aesthetically, undertones whether shopping for single origin coffee, natural wine, art books, the Celia (named after American conservationist Celia Hunter) features fine candles or fashion.” One of Scoccia’s top priorities is to get in close touch with Italian craftmanship in an elegant construction. Suffice to say, this isn’t your this audience—to listen to their feedback and needs and exchange opinions. typical chunky, eco-friendly trail shoe. “I want to create a community around my brand and not be just another ‘shoe Other highlights of the women’s collection (each style is named after notable brand,’” he says, adding it’s just the beginning for O2 Monde. The five-year female environmentalists) span sleek driving mocs to sporty slip-ons and hiplan includes creating a proprietary sustainable material as well as evolving tops. Eco-friendly materials and manufacturing process include uppers made into a lifestyle brand that spans men’s shoes, handbags and ready-to-wear. of Vitigna, a 100-percent plant-based, bio-engineered material sourced from “My overall focus is on creating a brand that is sustainable at 360 degrees,” Tuscany’s wine industry leftovers; Bioveg, a vegan leather made of recycled Scoccia says. “And I hope that my work inspires other brands to take more water bottles; Thunit outsoles, a flexible and durable, water-resistant and action around sustainability.” —Greg Dutter recyclable vegan fabric made without hazardous or harmful substances that

Pretty Green

38 • february 2021