The appetite for sneakers does not appear to be waning, with customers spending around $192 for the category in 2019, 39 percent more than in the previous year, according to fashion search platform Lyst’s “Year in Fashion” research.
Taking advantage of the category’s global resonance, footwear start-up ACBC is launching on Thursday a fund-raiser through Kickstarter with which it aims to build a community and launch what’s billed as “the world’s most sustainable shoe.” Concurrently, a $5 million capital increase bringing in additional backers will allow the company to invest in marketing, workforce and enhance its direct-to-consumer approach.
It’s a comeback to the popular crowdfunding platform for ACBC, which went direct-to-consumer with a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 that raised $700,000 and allowed the company to produce the patented modular sneaker they’ve become known for. The shoes are engineered with a zipper system that ties together the sole, available in 10 variations, with around 100 upper parts, also tapping into the customization trend. The concept has generated hype and provided ACBC with cobranded collaborations with Emporio Armani’s EA7 line and Moschino.
Since cofounders Gio Giacobbe and Edoardo Iannuzzi, who hold the chief executive officer and creative director roles, respectively, have established the company, two additional round of investments have followed. The first took place in November 2017 when the company moved to Italy from the UK and Compagnia Digitale Italiane, the main shareholder of Triboo Digitale, an Italian consultancy and tech-enabler that spearheads it client’s digitalization, joined ACBC. In April the second round helped the footwear firm to open 22 doors, among directly operated and franchises, in Europe and China.
Through the latest Kickstarter fundraiser, ACBC’s aim is to take to the production line a modular sneaker with the lowest environmental footprint. During a conversation at the company’s headquarters in Milan, Giacobbe and Iannuzzi explained that the Made2Share sneaker’s production releases 9 kilograms and 4.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide for the sole, and each skin, or upper part, respectively. According to data released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, each individual usually purchases three pairs of shoes each year, producing 40.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions, which compares to 22.5 kilograms for an ACBC’s sustainable outsole and three skins.
ACBC’s sustainable sneakers boast an outsole made of the trademark Bloom Algae Foam material, an insole crafted from cork, and comes with skins available in a range of eco-friendly materials, including Tencel, Pignatex, derived from pineapple leaves, and Coronet’s Bioveg, a synthetic leather that combines 20 percent recycled PET with 80 percent bio-polyols derived from plants.
“Our vision for the future is to create a company and a label that can be the most sustainable possible, although at the same time to be able to offer product in line with global trends in terms of design. Today, but even in 2017, it would be crazy to launch a company that’s not sustainable,” said Giacobbe.