Valentino has released its first sustainable sneakers made entirely from recycled or bio-based vegan materials in its Open for a Change initiative aimed at reducing its carbon footprint.
Luxury fashion label Valentino is taking a big first step in sustainable footwear—literally. Introducing the Open for a Change project, the Italian fashion house is redesigning two of its signature sneakers with all sustainable materials.
According to Valentino, the Open and the Rockstud Untitled feature recycled and bio-based materials that replace leather with corn and viscose-based alternatives. The laces are eco, too, made from recycled polyester. Valentino’s signature studs on the Rockstud are made from recycled nylon, a favorite of another luxury Italian fashion house, Prada. The new sustainable shoes come in eco shoe cases and packaging made from recycled cotton and paper responsibly sourced from sustainably managed forests.
Supply chain traceability and accountability
Valentino says the new shoes are fully traceable throughout its European supply chain. Like with all of the maison’s offerings, it promises the highest standards and artisanal craftsmanship. It says its suppliers go through life cycle assessment analyses to measure the environmental impacts at every step of production.
According to Valentino, the sustainable Open and Rockstud Untitled show a decreased environmental impact when compared to similar products made with traditional materials.
“With Valentino Garavani Open for a Change, our first conscious-driven product, we reinforce our brand commitment toward more sustainable business practices,” chief executive officer Jacopo Venturini, told WWD.
“I think it’s important that we continue this way and set targets going forward that are more and more ambitious toward conscious-driven creative innovations,” Venturini said.
“At Valentino we are building on our history and legacy with a new attitude and a new culture based on a couture culture which I believe is absolutely vital to our next chapter. A culture of values is what we are injecting in Valentino. I am committed to this mission, I believe this is going to be key for the future.”
The move follows Valentino’s commitments to removing fur and alpaca from its collections. It’s now also sourcing sustainable viscose for 70 percent of its collections.
Nearly a decade ago, in 2013, Valentino joined Greenpeace for its Detox Solution Commitment—a move that saw the luxury brand commit to removing all harmful chemicals from its supply chain. It also joined the Zero Deforestation Commitment aimed at protecting waterways and rainforests. Valentino says it has since reduced 63 percent of its chemical use across all items.
Valentino joins a growing number of luxury houses that have launched sustainable shoes in recent years. Last year Louis Vuitton launched its first plant-based unisex sneaker. Balenciaga, Gucci, Prada, and Stella McCartney all have a number of eco options.
The Open and the Rockstud Untitled launch comes with an augmented reality experience available on the Valentino app that lets consumers visit the virtual Open for a Change pop-up shop. There, they can interact with the shoes, learn about the sustainable materials, and make a purchase. A new AR filter also launched on the Valentino Instagram that features natural elements to emphasize the sustainable sneakers. On TikTok, it’s working with talent across the globe in their native languages to promote the launch.
While the Rome-based brand is starting with shoes, the Open for a Change initiative will see additional products and adjacent initiatives to support the brand’s multiplatform approach to its launches.
The new shoes come in five different colorways, including white with yellow, forest green, black and plum stripe, and rainbow Rockstud harware.
The shoes are featured in Valentino’s spring 2022 collection and are available at its stores across the globe, including Harrods, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Galeries Lafayette, as well as online retailers including LuisaViaRoma, Ssense, Mytheresa, and Net-a-porter.
Venturini says the shoe’s represent the label’s goal to “maintain and reinforce” Valentino as “the most established Italian maison de couture,” he said.
“In a world where the human capital is at the epicenter of all the maison’s activities, my responsibility is to create a more catered and mindful business model with a company culture based on ethical values,” he said.