N.O.R.A. shoes
The true values of Tuscan shoe craftsmanship

N.O.R.A. – The true values of Tuscan shoe craftsmanship

N.O.R.A is the brainchild of shoe designer Simone Gronchi who shows that fashionable goes very well with ethical.

We talked to the founder about his path, his Tuscan network of artisans and his take on sustainability.

»We like to think of our shoes as ‘moving sculptures’.«
Founder Simone Gronchi
Hi Simone, please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a freelance shoe designer. I work with a team and a network of factories and suppliers, designing and developing shoes for some of the most renowned labels and international fashion brands.

We support them from the first concept and the building of the line through to merchandising and the finalisation of their shoe collection and leather accessories. My studio is located in Tuscany, in an area where most of the luxury brands produce their ‘high end’ products.

What made you launch N.O.R.A? Was there a key moment?

The idea derived mainly from a bunch of questions: Why do sustainability and style always seem to contradict each other? Why is sustainability not implemented consistently in shoe production?

We started looking into this and found no answer, so we came up with our own.

What’s unique about N.O.R.A?

N.O.R.A. is an acronym of these four words: neoartisanal, organic, recyclable, authentic. So it’s not just a name, it’s our philosophy: N.O.R.A. is a ‘newborn’ collection, made with love and passion for shoe design and making.

We would love to reconnect people to the real authentic values of Italian craftsmanship. Our product is hand-made locally and the components are produced in a short supply chain. Our artisans take great pride in their work and the beauty that surrounds them in our Tuscan countryside. And when we say neoartisanal, we mean we support and highlight the art and expertise of our Italian craftspeople; we mix tradition, modern technologies and knowledge to create our products.

Our designs are inspired by a ‘modern formal’ lifestyle and a commitment to fuse quality with artisanal knowhow and true sustainability. The charm and sensuality of touch guides us in our choice of materials; we’re always looking at the overall architecture and volume rather than decoration or embellishments. We like to think of our shoes as ‘moving sculptures’, worn by people who identify with a style that’s ‘formally unconventional’.

What are your brands ethical contributions?

We’re really proud that our shoes are made with 95% organic materials. By the way, it always irritates me when we have discussions about the sustainability of leather. The leather we use comes from the meat industry. It’s a waste product that is treated and dyed organically and sustainably, and when recycled, it doesn’t harm the environment. Some vegan products, which are not made with sustainable polyurethanes, are much more harmful to the environment.

Our components are all sourced from sustainable productions with 100% transparent & certified tracking. We guarantee the complete re-use of our products when their lifecycle comes to an end. Customers can return their shoes or accessories, and we make sure that the appropriate processes are followed to recycle the components for subsequent production.

But our efforts don’t stop there. I’m really hoping that more research and development will go into sustainable shoe production. Together with component manufacturers and production sites, we can reach an even higher level of innovation, because in my view, sustainably produced shoes should be the norm in the future.

Thank you, Simone!

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