ID.EIGHT is a company that makes sustainable sneakers, derived solely from agricultural and food waste. I decide to award the company three stars for their initiative to tackle waste and demonstrate the diverse set of ideas that sustainable fashion can dish out. Their designs, made locally in Italy, are produced ethically, and provide a promising example of creative solutions to environmental obstacles. Almost all ID.EIGHT sneakers cost under €200, and can be shipped all around the world; meaning that they are highly accessible. At such a convenient price, and with such environmental panache, ID.EIGHT sneakers are a catch!
ID.EIGHT sneakers are said to be made with 100% cruelty free materials – excluding materials originating from animals, and only employing sustainable and ethical material choices. These are certified by a range of groups, including: Global Recycle Standard, REACH compliant, and more. ID.EIGHT’s sneakers are primarily made of four materials, fully derived from agricultural or industrial waste. The first is Piñatex, a leather alternative extracted from wasted pineapple leaves grown in the Philippines. Secondly, ID.EIGHT uses Vegea, a material obtained from the bio-polymerization of marc (Grape stalks, skins and seeds) by the wine industry in Italy. Then, they use AppleSkin, gathered from the bio-polymerization of apple peels in Italy. Lastly, ID.EIGHT uses lycra and recycled mesh for inserts on the sole, laces and labels in order to make a fully environmentally friendly product. Even the box is made from 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard for packaging. And this does not compromise design – Dong Seon, the co-founder of ID.EIGHT theorizes that “design is fundamental”, and that “sustainability does not mean renouncing aesthetics, comfort and innovation”.
The ID.EIGHT sneakers are assembled in a small family-run company in the Marche region in Italy. All materials, bar Piñatex which is imported from the Philippines come from Italian suppliers – thus reducing the overall carbon footprint of the company. This local business model is strongly related to ID.EIGHT’s goal to have a low environmental impact on our planet while making top quality products. Yet crucially, its final production is undertaken in Italy: a medium risk country for labour abuse. And to add on to that, the company does not provide any meaningful information about labor standards. Additionally, ID.EIGHT does not reveal if it has a code of conduct for suppliers. So, this lack of information is slightly disappointing in what is otherwise a spectacularly creative and environmentally conscious company.
ID.EIGHT was created by Dong Seon Lee and Giuliana Borzillo, who together created a collection of sneakers with a refined design, based on sustainability and ethics. The company produces shoes with low environmental impact, using materials from food waste. This innovation, in my eyes, is worthy by itself - yet their ability to create stylish sneakers is a massive plus. Lee and Borzillo share a similar realization that the fashion industry produces a huge amount of waste, and created ID.EIGHT as a force towards more sustainable fashion. I believe that their ability to create sneakers that are affordable is another emblem of this goal. Their project was to make low environmentally impactful footwear, made in the Marche region. And so they did: as Borzillo claimed, the result was “a totally sustainable shoe”.