The eco-friendly, sustainable, and traceable sole takes centre stage at ACT N. 1 and Cormio

[On the cover: Cuoio di Toscana Prize – Green Sole – Act N.1 SS23]

Spreading the culture of leather – an intrinsically sustainable material – is the mission of the Tuscan Consortium which has lined up alongside the new generation of designers, supporting ACT N. 1 and Cormio brands during Milan Fashion Week, providing them with raw materials for free, and supporting their accessories production. The eco-friendly sole (a manifesto of the values of the Tuscan Leather Consortium) was, subsequently, the star of the footwear of the two collections. Antonio Quirici, president of the Consortium explains the objectives of this initiative.

Is it important to raise awareness among young people, from designers to consumers, on the characteristics of leather compared to other materials?

We try to explain to the market our industry’s intrinsic characteristics, its DNA, meaning that leather is the recovery of food waste, which is tanned with pigments that are obtained from plants which are, in turn, replanted every year in greater numbers, and that our Tuscan leather is sold to footwear manufacturers in the various Italian districts, as well as in Europe and Asia. Our soles are sustainable and traceable, thus providing added value to footwear. Our distinctive sign has become a green-coloured sole, which symbolises the material’s eco-friendliness.

So, have you created the Cuoio di Toscana Prize to support young designers?

Yes. It is the first edition and it aims to encourage young talents to use the green leather sole in the creation of their footwear. A choice at the basis of a broader concept that implies that the brand is working towards a total look in the name of eco-friendly values. This is why a jury made up of experts chose these two names. This is the first step of Cuoio di Toscana that will continue in subsequent fashion weeks alongside emerging designers.

The green sole can be used therefore for any type of shoe, from men’s shoes to high-heeled sandals. A challenge for the sneaker?

Due to the use of certain materials, a bacterial flora that is harmful to the foot can form in sneakers, whereas leather is, naturally, antibacterial and healthier.

The Consortium is a leader with 90% of its shares in the Italian and European markets and its leather is used by top players in the luxury market. Now it’s up to young people, who are bombarded with new materials.

All the best international brands use leather for their soles and are already loyal customers. We are now interested in reaching young people who are targeting a different audience, but who are increasingly attentive to the environment and sustainability. While there is a lot of talk about these topics, leather is already born sustainable and young people are beginning to understand this. This is demonstrated by the fact that these two selected brands were ready and happy to use our leather in their collections.

Flavia Colli Franzone