“A rebel project“. This is the tagline that describes the company founded 10 years ago by Pierluigi Perinello, ”Gigi“ for all his fans. More than a footwear brand, it is the idea of a new lifestyle.
The ”rebellion“, he explains himself, consists in creating a project ”focused on the respect for both the environment and human beings”.
”My encounter with tannins – he tells – happened while pursuing this goal, almost by chance. I was looking for quality materials to produce my shoes, especially for the insole and lining. I chose vegetable tanned leather made with tannins because, besides being a raw material of excellence with a long handcrafted tradition, it is an ecological and sustainable product”.
Customers immediately appreciated this choice. “Vegetable tanned leather lets the foot breathe, absorbs sweat while avoiding the development of bad odors. I then discovered that tannin is the secret ingredient that imparts to the vegetable tanned leather these unique characteristics.
Their action on the hide extends the life of the product, which, unlike what happens with synthetic materials, is repairable and made to last over time: a way to get out of the culture of disposable goods that feeds only frustration and waste”.
Gigi became a true ”tannin ambassador“: now he explains to customers how it is extracted, how it is used in the tanning process, how it makes the final product unique. Next to the shoe boxes there is always a glass jar full of chestnut tannin: customers can touch it, smell it. And they always go home with a new pair of shoes.
Gigi says: ”Before founding my company I worked in the footwear industry for 35 years, selling raw materials to the main Italian shoe manufacturers and brands. Year after year I saw the excellence of Italian production bend to market logics that wanted products at ever lower costs that are able to feed a crazy logic of consumerism.
Real people and their needs had no place in this high pace production and design systems. A change also due to the high distribution costs; so, to keep prices low, you save on materials”.
A vicious circle from which, however, he is sure we can exit. ”I founded my brand -Ragioniamo con i piedi- to show that it is possible to make shoes with materials of excellence and craftsmanship entirely (and really) Made in Italy, putting quality on top of distribution and brand logics”.
The Italian expression “ragionare con i piedi” literally means “to think with one’s feet”, which generally refers to poor thinking. But Gigi decided to use it in a positive way: after all, you walk with your feet, not with your brain. So, shouldn’t they be the decision makers in choosing the pair of shoes?
The project took shape thanks to the Internet diffusion, ”the third greatest invention of Humanity, after the wheel and movable type printing. The Net has enabled the disintermediation that allows to reinvest the costs of traditional distribution in the quality of the product, starting from materials”. The online store is accompanied by direct sales in street markets, events, fairs and local events: a way to get back to the roots of the market and the real relationship with the people.
Gigi comments: ”For years we believed that Synthetic Chemistry could replace Nature, but it is a trap. Nature already has the solutions to most of our problems, it is all about knowing how to identify them and use them properly. As with tannin, one of the most noble and precious substances in the world: the time has come to recognize its value”.