Two of the brand’s signature sneakers, the Open and the Rockstud Untitled, have been redesigned with the environment top of mind.
The latest versions partially involve recycled and bio-based materials, the latter employed as an alternative to leather produced from viscose and polyurethane of corn-derived polyols. These materials partially make the upper of both models and part of the Open’s side band; the strings are completely made of recycled polyester, while Valentino’s signature studs on the Rockstud Untitled are also made of recycled nylon.
This environmental approach is reflected in the shoe case and the packaging, which are made of fully recycled cotton and paper, which is sourced from sustainably managed forests.
“With Valentino Garavani Open for a Change, our first conscious-driven product, we reinforce our brand commitment toward more sustainable business practices,” said chief executive officer Jacopo Venturini, who first mentioned to WWD the goal to launch the sneaker last September. “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. 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.”
He reiterated his goal to “maintain and reinforce” Valentino as “the most established Italian maison de couture.”
As reported, Valentino has committed to going fur-free starting from 2022 and alpaca-free starting with the spring 2022 season. It is also working with environmentally friendly viscose suppliers for 70 percent of its production.
“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,” concluded Venturini.
The Open and the Rockstud Untitled sneakers that are part of the Open for a Change project retail at $690 and $850, respectively. They are included in Valentino’s spring 2022 collection and are available at the brand’s boutiques worldwide and on its e-store, as well as at selected doors worldwide, such as Harrods, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Galeries Lafayette. The sneakers are also available online at LuisaViaRoma, Ssense, Mytheresa and Net-a-porter.
Valentino launches today an augmented reality experience on its app where users can explore the Open for a Change virtual pop-up and learn about the sneakers. Interactive Valentino features are also visible on the app, such as the OPFAC Vlogo, a maxi sneaker, stars that transform into studs, and fish that transform into sneakers. By touching the maxi sneaker, users can read information about the product and purchase on the brand’s online store.
On Jan. 17, Valentino is also launching an AR filter on Instagram dedicated to Open for a Change with natural elements such as an amplifier of the sustainable features of the sneakers. In addition, the company is collaborating with native TikTok talent using their own language.
Valentino guarantees a fully traceable European supply chain and the highest standards of artisanal craftsmanship with this project.
Suppliers of the bio-based materials go through the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) analytic method that quantifies the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of the life cycle of a commercial product.
The Rome-based company said that analysis on the Open and Rockstud Untitled has demonstrated a lesser impact of bio-based materials than similar products made with traditional fossil fuels.
Valentino, which is planning several and different Open for a Change iterations and satellite initiatives to strengthen the multichannel and multiplatform digital approach of the brand, back in 2013 joined the Greenpeace Detox Solution Commitment in a mission to eliminate all dangerous chemicals from its supply chain and signed onto Zero Deforestation Commitment projects to help protect waterways and rainforests. As a result of its commitment with Greenpeace, it has reduced by approximately 63 percent the chemical substances in its production, according to Venturini.