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Sustainable Shoe Brand Rothy’s Teams With Marta Ferri

Julieta Sabino

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MILAN — San Francisco-based shoe company Rothy’s has landed in Milan in a collaboration with Italian designer Marta Ferri. The launch marks the company’s launch in Italy, with an eye on other European markets this fall.

At Milan’s storied concept store 10 Corso Como, Rothy’s and Ferri this week presented two new silhouettes of loafers and ballerinas, featured in six different colors.

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Sustainable and totally machine washable, the pieces are made of discarded plastic water bottles — turned into yarn and then 3-D knitted — as well as recycled materials and high-quality, zero-impact merino wool provided by Italian mill Tollegno 1900. 

Founded in 2016, Rothy’s waves the flag for sustainability, owning and operating its factory in China under a zero-waste process, having repurposed 33 million plastic water bottles to date.

In fall 2018, Erin Dempsey Lowenberg, Rothy’s creative director, visited Europe looking for new fabrics to expand the company’s assortment. “We knew wool would be incredibly soft, with better colors, better texture, and one of the premier wool suppliers in Biella, Italy, Tolegno 1900, has been making wool for more than 100 years not only beautifully, but of the highest quality and in a very sustainable green way,” she said.

After researching local designers, in November 2018 Dempsey Lowenberg met Milanese bespoke designer Ferri and started to work on the project right away. “The minute I met Marta I felt very connected to her, I think she is very talented, elegant and timeless and very Milano, but also the way she combines fabrics, she is creative with a twist and she loved our shoes, so there was a mutual excitement.” Ferri concurred, saying, “We immediately realized that we had a lot in common. Rothy’s shoes are extremely contemporary and timeless.”

The designer explained that she tried to create a collection free from conventional trends with a style of its own. “I played with the color scheme and found inspiration in the Tolegno 1900 archives. It was really special to see the story, the life of the company and of the people, and the books from the archives inspired my collection,” Ferri said.

Available exclusively at 10 Corso Como in Milan from until Oct. 15, the limited-edition collection will then be sold online at Rothy’s e-commerce site and in U.S. stores.

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