MILAN — “Making sustainability cool” is the ultimate goal of Umberto De Marco, founder of footwear label Yatay, which is officially launching on Tuesday with an event hosted at Mortimer House in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia neighborhood.
The son of Enrico De Marco, a successful pioneering entrepreneur in the eco-leather business, Umberto De Marco is the president of Coronet Spa, which provides an array of fashion and accessories labels with leatherlike materials.
“The research for more sustainable alternatives has always been at the core of our company and, after maturing a certain experience in the industry in China and then here in Italy, I realized that the ultimate goal now is to demonstrate that eco-friendly and stylish are two words that can coexist,” said De Marco, explaining the philosophy behind the Yatay brand. “Add that I’m a sneaker lover…here you go!”
Bearing its name from a palm tree growing in South America, Yatay makes its debut on the market with a unisex minimal sneaker. The shoe, available in both a low-top and high-top version, is manufactured in Italy by hand through procedures developed to drastically reduce the impact on the ecosystem and is completely made of eco-friendly materials.
The upper is crafted from a soft yet resistant material, mainly obtained with recycled plastic bottles, while the lining is made of a breathable microfiber composed of recycled polyester and waterborne polyurethane and the sole is crafted from recycled polyurethane.
“Through the processes we apply, we manage to reduce the CO2 emissions by 80 percent compared to standard technologies,” said De Marco, who also developed a patented eco-friendly packaging consisting of a transparent box made out of five recycled plastic bottles. “We also finished our sneaker with sustainable details, including Italian hemp laces, as well as toe caps and buttresses crafted from organic cotton treated with a water-based technology.”
In keeping with its sustainable approach, Yatay joined venture with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit organization that focuses on global reforestation, which for each pair of Yatay shoe sold, will plant a tree in a deforested area around the world.
Yatay sneakers, which retail from $270 to $330, are available online at the company’s e-store, as well as at L’Eclaireur in Paris and at Gio Moretti in Milan.