From Micam’s Green Zone where the ACBC occupies centre stage, to the VCS certification mark, accessory sustainability is all the rage

[On the cover: the new MICAM Green Zone]

In the world of fashion and accessories, research increasingly goes hand in hand with sustainability, a need felt by consumers and now perceived as time-critical by companies. In a time when fashion events have contests to discover new sustainable brands and start-ups, Micam Milano also set up for the first time a dedicated ‘Green Zone’ where sustainability was addressed from different point of view. ACBC was present: the company was the first to obtain the ‘B Corp’ certification in Italy, demonstrating that it operates within specific standards, with a strong focus on governance, communities, people, customers, and the environment. The brand’s mission, since its inception in 2017, has always been to “produce green footwear with an innovative approach and to produce innovative products with a green approach”, as they say in the company, with the aim of promoting more conscientious consumption and purchasing habits. For Autumn-Winter 22/23, the company’s Evergreen collection included sneakers with uppers made of GrapeBase, a material with a high degree of content from recycled and vegetable raw materials – the vegetable biomass comes from the waste from the Italian wine industry which includes grape skins, stalks, and seeds – or made of HempFiber – a fibre that is among the most sustainable since it does not require pesticides and it uses 60% less water than cotton – or, again, uppers in wood fibre. The soles are made out of recycled rubber, the insock is made of cork, the insole from recycled PU foam, and the heel is made from recycled materials from cacti, apples, and mangoes.

These characteristics have piqued the interest of numerous fashion brands and collaborations and accessory capsules have been born, so much so that today ACBC is a partner in the sustainability field of 28 brands including Missoni, Maliparmi, Save the Duck, La Martina, Piquadro, Geox, Rewoolution, Philippe Model Paris, just to name a few. Thus, collaboration with Missoni gave rise to the unisex ‘Basket ‘90’ model with the famous zigzag and the upper made from fruit scraps, the lining and heel in recycled plastic, and the sole in rubber and materials derived from corn. The ‘Paw’ sneaker, made with partially recycled materials, is the result of a collaboration with Save the Duck, while the ‘Re-volution’ project marked Maliparmi’s first foray into the green world and consisted of the use of Re-Botilia (a material derived from recycling (post-consumer) polyester and plastic bottles) for the upper, of Re-Rubber (recycled rubber from the soles of other sneakers and automobile tires) for the sole, and organic cotton for the laces. For Rewoolution, a brand of the Reda Group, the synergy has given rise to the performance footwear ‘Woolflyer’; cruelty-free and bio based, designed for soft performance activities that respect nature, the model features a sole in EVA and AlgaFoam, a foam made from algae, and the upper in technical fabric produced from ethical and sustainable ZQRX certified Merino Wool.

In the ‘Green Zone’, there were also 20 display cases containing as many shoes from sustainable brands. But the real highlight of the event, and of Assocalzaturifici, is the debut of the VCS (Verified and Certified Steps) certification mark, designed for the footwear industry that aims at the highest standards of sustainability. It is explained, at Micam, through live demonstrations for buyers and companies who want to approach the certification process. An easy-to-use tool that measures corporate performance on social, environmental, and governance issues.