Ecological shoes Made in Italy, ecological shoes produced with non-chemically tanned leather, leather, rubber and soles made from corn starch. Ecological shoes which we have been offering in alternative markets since 2008, firmly believing in quality and a short supply chain. Gigi Perinello does not hide that it is a difficult choice, but one that pays off We reason with our feet a special reality, increasingly sought after.
1) When did your idea of producing and marketing ecological shoes born? And why ecological shoes?
In 2008, and the choice of ecological shoes it was a form of rebellion against the conventional market, based on price and brand but not on quality. We have restored the use of leathers tanned with tannins extracted from tree bark, choosing to produce our ecological shoes in Italy. For this we have rebuilt a system of short supply chain: we distribute directly ecological shoes produced by our partners using word of mouth. We want regular contracts for workers, raw materials checked for origin and quality, maximum quality for ours ecological shoes but also a affordable price to all.
2) What is your offer of ecological shoes? Who is it for?
We are not subject to the fashions of the moment, we offer collections of ecological shoes stable to which we slowly add new items, when we perceive the need in our customers. For affinity of values we turned to Gas also participating in their markets. Our ecological shoes they are also in organic and craft markets, in some online shop with us, or available via e-commerce. And then, strange case for some ecological shoes, we are in a bookshop in Arco, Arcolibri, in the province of Trento, with Ecoflex ankle boots.
3) What materials do you use for your ecological shoes?
Materials that respect the chemistry of the skin of the foot and the wholesomeness of the production environment as well as respect for nature. The foot produces sweat which acts as a chemical extractor which then reabsorbs. To avoid allergies, mainly related to chromium, we line ours ecological shoes with leathers tanned with vegetable tannins extracted from mimosa chestnut and oak plants. For the insoles of ecological shoes we use leather, tanned like skins, especially rubber for the soles, a natural product that is excellent for the environment because even its "leftovers" can be reused. We have been using soles of Italian production, very light, made from corn starch, flexible and shock absorbing.
4) What to ask the suppliers of the materials to guarantee ecological shoes?
In the production of ecological shoes from 20 to 40 material producers are involved: there are considerable difficulties in choosing suppliers who have the same values as ours. We always look for raw materials that guarantee respect for the environment and healthiness for the foot. There are no real certifications that guarantee ecological shoes perfect, there are laws but there are inadequate controls. Proper certification is a black hole we should all be working on, for the time being the most skilled certifiers of ecological shoes are the feet of our customers.
5) Are yours ecological shoes Made in Italy? What does this choice entail?
Yes, strictly Made in Italy. The laws make it possible to produce a small percentage of the product in Italy while allowing the use of the wording Made in Italy but we stubbornly defend the work and Italian artisan knowledge. This causes an increase in the price of ours ecological shoes, solved by shortening supply chains and investing not in advertising but in relationships with informed customers willing to make some sacrifices to support us. The production of the upper of the Ecoflex ankle boot, for example, in Romania would cost € 2, in Italy it costs € 10. To make a fair and transparent proposal of ecological shoes defending Italian work, we have to make difficult choices: shorten supply chains.
6) Your ecological shoes have a transparent label: what does this mean?
It means informing about our production and distribution costs of ecological shoes in a synthetic and understandable way. It is not easy but we believe it is correct and essential to gain trust and create an alliance with the customer. To choose ecological shoes with a transparent label therefore means investing and supporting not a company but an entire society which, if more informed, can choose in an increasingly conscious way.
7) Is the interest of Italians in the ecological characteristics of products increasing?
It increases the fear of the poor and harmful product for our body and the awareness that we must change our lifestyles. More and more people are choosing to buy less but better, a more durable, repairable product and therefore projected to serve us for longer. This crisis is in this case useful for reflection and we want to help with the transparency and the mass of information we offer, to choose well.
If you liked this interview, keep following me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and… elsewhere you have to find me!