After working for more than 20 years as a shoe designer for top luxury brands, Mirco Scoccia is introducing a new company that combines the best of his experience with today’s consumer values.
On January 1, Mirco Scoccia will debut O2 Monde, a direct-to-consumer footwear brand centered on sustainable production and Italian craftsmanship. The whitespace the company is filing is a luxury footwear brand that prioritizes cutting-edge processes in sustainable manufacturing, said Scoccia. In contrast, others in the shoe category fall short on sustainability, leaning too heavily on “have-forever styles,” when pressed about efforts.
Scoccia has designed shoes for Bottega Veneta, Tory Burch, Cole Haan and M.Gemi, and grew up around his father’s shoe factory in Fermo, Italy. As he put it, other luxury brands are doing “everything” wrong, in terms of sustainability. He pointed to their habit of creating 600-800 samples of styles, resulting in “constantly throwing away product and money,” as well as their constant use of leather, despite the pollution caused by leather production. In addition, he said, they’re wasteful in how they market and sell their shoes, as it no longer makes sense “to fill a 3,000- to 5,000-square-foot space with product.” And their operational teams are excessive, he said; O2 Monde is run by a team of five.
For O2 Monde, he set out “to create shoes in a more sustainable, vegan and clean way,” he said. After researching materials and production in other categories, including furniture and cars, he began testing the use of available sustainable materials in creating shoes. He found a workable selection, including those made from pineapple, wood and wine, and approached Italian factories about the possibility of using them in his shoes’ production.
“There was an [obstacle], in that I wanted to use plant-based materials and also work with traditional [Italian] manufacturers,” said Scoccia. “I had to convince families that had done their work the same way for generations to shift to a better mentality.”
O2 Monde now works with three Italian factories — one for sneakers, one for casual styles and one for dress styles. The company’s warehouse is also in Italy and will ship products directly to customers. Scoccia said he’s also saving energy by exclusively designing in New York, instead of making frequent trips to Italy. And he’s minimizing waste by tailoring shoe shapes to lasts, rather than sketching his designs. Like his luxury counterparts, he plans to focus on seasonless, “icon” styles, versus trendy shoes.
Aside from nailing down factories, a challenge for Scoccia has been keeping his prices reasonable ($268-$398), as working with sustainable materials requires “more work and more attention.”
The brand is set to maintain its initial direct-to-consumer model to retain a connection with customers — but Scoccia insisted that, thanks to his design background, O2 Monde won’t be just another DTC brand.
“In the last 10 years, these big tech companies have tried to launch shoes, but they didn’t have expertise. It’s a lot of marketing effort, but with no design,” he said. Scoccia is also heading up the business and marketing of his brand.