New Italian ethical footwear brand ADAR launched its debut vegan and sustainable sneaker on Kickstarter on July 5.
Founded by Florence-based fashion designer Willy Anne Wijnja and Zurich-based entrepreneur Luca Matteo Manuzzi, ADAR (About Designing Abstract Realities) combines ethical design with luxury quality to create new-era premium high-fashion sneakers.
Described by the founders as a “vegan sneaker for a conscious generation”, ADAR’s debut, The Waver, is a handmade unisex low-top sneaker with 100 per cent of the material sourced and manufactured in Italy. Made for the conscious fashion-forward consumer, the sneakers prioritize comfort whilst supporting the need for sustainable luxury that is cruelty-free, innovative and has a positive impact on the world.
Featuring an outsole made from recycled rubber, an upper made from vegan Apple Leather and recycled polyester, an inner lining in sustainable bamboo fibres and an Apple Leather insole on a recycled and biodegradable latex soft cushion, it is one of the first designs to combine sustainability, ethical manufacturing and luxury.
Wijnja and Manuzzi’s drive to create a sustainable footwear brand was shaped by their shared commitment to creating a better world. Beyond low-carbon, low-impact design, the pair decided to ensure sales would have a direct positive impact on the climate and community. A portion of the future sales of every sneaker will go towards funding the Lady Ripple Bee Initiative, helping to build more beehives across Tuscany.
“Our mission is to design ethical luxury products for consumers which value aesthetics and craftsmanship as much as sustainability,” Luca Matteo Manuzzi commented. “Besides renewability, ADAR is focused on contemporary and gender-neutral design. While the sneaker ticks boxes for smart, sustainable manufacturing, it also appeals to a modern aesthetic. The chunky thick sole is on-trend and offers wearers unrivalled comfort, while the complex patchwork upper made from Apple Leather patches over recycled polyester creates a unique sporty look and allows for breathability and airflow. It’s this distinct undulating design that gives the sneakers their name: The Waver.”
“Born and raised in a small village in the north of the Netherlands, I didn’t have a lot of access to fashion,” Willy Anne Wijnja explains. “I went to college to study fashion tailoring, where I learned how to sew, create patterns and all technical aspects of dressmaking. In 2013, I had the opportunity to do an internship abroad, and so I moved to Florence for the first time and, of course, I fell in love with the city. I decided to move back to Florence as soon as I finished college to go to Accademia Italiana, where I studied fashion design.” Wijnja worked as an assistant designer for Swedish brand AVAVAV before becoming a consultant in product development for brands in Europe and the US. “Two years ago, Luca and I decided to bundle our powers and passion for sustainability and that’s how ADAR was born!”
“Florence inspires me a lot for its beauty, but also for the emerging creative community,” Wijnja enthuses. “Florence is home to so many young creatives and entrepreneurs. It really helps as we all inspire each other. Like others, I see a modern renaissance happening in our city. People are really open to new things. Another aspect is the artisan state of mind. Everything is possible; just use a little creativity. If a company has never done something before, they are always open to trying. This is possible with the generations of experience local artisans have: finding solutions.”