Plastic-free Month LVRSustainable Stories | Chapter 3: Mini Melissa

LVRSustainable in conversation with Mini Melissa, the children's footwear conscious brand.

For the third week of plastic-free month this July, we are featuring Mini Melissa, the brand that since 1979 has been transforming plastic into comfortable and colorful footwear, while respecting the environment and those who wear them. We asked the brand how they contribute to making the future sustainable for our children and what we can do in our daily lives to make that future a reality.

Read the editorial and join the plastic-free revolution.

Mini Melissa at LUISAVIAROMA

“Recover” has become the watchword in a world that is increasingly attentive to the issue of sustainability, and the fashion industry is also aiming to minimize its environmental impact. What are the advantages of garments made from recycled fabrics and what strategies has your brand implemented to reduce the use of plastic?

The main raw material used in the production of Melissa’s shoes is a continuous-use (opposed to single-use) plastic, that is also easily recyclable, atoxic, and free of restricted substances: MelFlex. This continuous-use plastic can be reutilized for years and years to come, due to its durability and high-circularity potential. Every Melissa product contains around 30% of recycled material (pre-consumed) and, on some of our special projects, the composition of the shoe can be up to 100% recycled material – which is the case of the Melissa Flox M Edition, made exclusively out of recycled previously owned shoes.
The use of recycled materials results in a smaller carbon footprint – a claim verified by a Brazilian university, through a study being conducted since 2021. This study is based on a methodology called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which evaluates the production cycle and offering of a commodity, from raw material extraction through fabrication and finally, shipping.
We’re constantly seeking opportunities to reduce our environmental impact, like an internal system in place used to measure the environmental impact of the shoes before they’re even fabricated.
Additionally, all Clube Melissa and Galeria Melissa stores in Brazil, which sum up to almost 400 selling-points, have shoe collectors used to gather worn-out shoes, which we direct to the homologated recycling facilities. Currently, we’re in the process of studying ways we can expand these collection points to other countries where our shoes are sold.

Mini Melissa at LUISAVIAROMA

How do you propose to tackle the problem of microplastics?

By constantly researching and innovating our materials and exploring design strategies that reduce environmental impact. For example, to substitute glitter, one of the most notorious types of microplastics, we’ve developed finishing options using biomaterials, pulverized inks that create a metallic effect and textures that reproduce a look alike glitter effect, amongst other methods that are still in the works. These technologies lessen the use of glues and glitter, which leads to a reduced use of hard-to-trace microplastics.

In your opinion, what power do consumers have to influence the choices of brands in terms of sustainability?

Consumers influence brands from the moment they make the decision to shop consciously. There is a co-creation of value between the customer and companies that, from the moment they realize this new consumer demand, adapt their product offerings. Naturally, conscious consumers that have had a positive shopping experience, can influence others’ buying habits. When it comes to sustainability attributes, communicating in a truthful and transparent way, generates trust for the brands.

Mini Melissa at LUISAVIAROMA

What are your hopes and/or expectations regarding a more sustainable future? What can each of us do to reduce our daily consumption of plastic, beginning with our wardrobes?

A sustainable future is built by continuously reducing, to the best of our abilities, our socio-environmental impact. Starting from our wardrobe, we should be questioning in what circumstances our pieces were manufactured, which implies understanding labor conditions – if the companies are providing a safe and positive environment for workers and if they are following local labor laws. Lastly, knowing the raw-material and the brand’s manufacturing processes, guaranteeing that the management of everything related to production, is made in the most responsible and sustainable way possible. Melissa is proud to have earned multiple national (Brazilian based) and international certifications and records regarding its responsibility towards workers and the eco efficiency of its processes:

SMETA is one of the most recognized audits worldwide on ethical management and social responsibility. In 2021, Melissa’s manufacturing operations underwent an audit and obtained excellent results to ensure the claims about its commitment to sustainable development. The Brazilian Textile Retail Association (ABVTEX) promotes constant evaluations on the fashion retail value chain, ensuring business ethics, decent labor conditions for employees, and care for the environment. In the 2021 audit, Grendene was recognized with the highest score, achieving the ABVTEX Gold seal.

The Vegan Trademark – Vegan Society, a UK-based institution, is one of the leading certifiers of vegan products in the world. Since 2019, Grendene has been registered with the Vegan Society, which certifies that all of our shoes are free of any component of animal origin, in addition to not testing on animals. As of 2020, we’ve submitted data to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) — an organization that assesses the environmental performance of companies, bridging the gap between them and shareholders to facilitate business opportunities — for the surveys on Water Security and Climate Change programs. Melissa achieved the Silver Seal on the Brazilian GHG Protocol Program (the main tool for identifying, controlling, and managing GHG emissions) for the first publication of an inventory in the Public Registry of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, demonstrating the integrity and transparency of the information published.

About LVRSustainable

LVRSustainable is the section of LuisaViaRoma dedicated to offering a curated selection of the best conscious brands and items, as well as special collaborations with renowned non-profits, organizations, and brands to benefit social and environmental causes. LVRSustainable aims to build a global sustainable community and to promote creativity by supporting conscious fashion: organic, vegan, ethical trade, eco-friendly, women’s empowerment, community engagement, recycling and upcycling, and luxury craftsmanship products.

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