Italian leather inserted itself as the protagonist of the unisex and sustainable sneakers’ project signed by O.T.A. Paris (O.T.A. stands for On The Asphalt). Arnaud Barboteau founded the French brand, which was selected among the Emerging Designer at Micam Milano in 2017. He did it by building on the inspiration provided by a photo of an African child cutting a rectangle of rubber from a tire to make a sandal. Even the laces are made with plastic saved from the oceans. “Sustainable sneakers will become the norm in the future – says Barboteau –. But careful with vegan sneakers: using materials made mainly with plastic isn’t truly sustainable. Moreover, they don’t last as long as those made with leather”. Here is our interview with Arnaud Barboteau (in photo).
Who is O.T.A.
Tell us about the O.T.A. project
The brand is present in about 60 retail points. Revenue comes 70% from the wholesale channel, while the remaining 30% from online sales. Exports account for 50% of our revenue. The main markets are France, Japan, Germany and Belgium.
What impact did Covid-19 have?
A large one. All stores were closed so business was struggling over the last 18 months. Luckily online sales went well: a trend which continues to give.
Who is it going today?
Stores ask for immediate availability and consumers are constantly looking for more sustainable products.
Entering the Galeries Lafayette stores and launching on the Chinee market by the end of the year.
Italian leather for O.T.A. Paris
Let’s talk production and leather…
Production takes place in Portugal. 90% of the offering uses Italian leather that I choose due to its looks and durability. Then there is a product line made with leather recycled from the production of a plant that makes gloves (leather pieces joint together with latex) and another line with recycled rubber and plastic to offer a more convenient price point.
The particular of O.T.A. Paris’s sneakers is mainly the sole right?
Yes. It took us about 2 years to develop, test and design the sole, which is made with recycled tires. Based on the tests conducted, our soles are between 20% and 50% less abrasive than the traditional kinds, which is why our sneakers lasts more and is consumed less from use. Each model is unique because its made with recycled tires that have travelled around the world. We recycle 1 tire every 3 pairs of shoes. We have recycled about 2,000 until now.
Careful with vegan sneakers
What’s the future of the sneakers’ market?
Sustainable sneakers will become the norm. all large brands are managing this topic, along with the end-of-life aspect of their accessories. Vegan sneakers are very trendy, but people need to be careful: vegan materials, in fact, are mainly made with PU, which isn’t really sustainable at all. Moreover, these materials don’t last as long as leather.