Rothy’s unveiled a new collaboration and plans to double its brick-and-mortar presence with new stores in five states.
Rothy’s x Evian
Last week, the Bay Area footwear brand, known for its 3D-knitted uppers made from recycled plastics, announced a new partnership with Evian. Rothy’s will repurpose the French mineral water company’s bottles to create a limited-edition, tennis-inspired capsule.
Bottles collected between Aug. 30 and Sept. 12 at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City, for which Evian is a sponsor, will be used to create the collection, slated to launch in September next year. Each fall, U.S. Open partners recycle nearly 10 tons of plastic generated at the event. This year, Evian and Rothy’s will upcycle a portion of that waste into usable consumer products.
While the brands have not finalized their assortment, it may include items like gear and accessories. “The design team is exploring everything from headwear to tennis bags, potentially testing into new categories for the brand,” Rothy’s wrote. The goal is to “give the Evian bottles collected from the event a chic second life as part of a capsule collection of court-side essentials, made using Rothy’s low waste, circular-focused manufacturing method.”
The Evian water bottles collected at the tournament will be melted down and blended with other plastic waste, and then extruded into a soft, washable threat, Rothy’s said. Those fibers will be used to knit the capsule’s products in a process that leaves behind “minimal waste,” it added.
The collaboration will serve as a step in both brands’ journeys toward a closed-loop future, with Evian committing to full circularity by 2025 and Rothy’s working to achieve the same goal by 2023. Today, Evian’s fully recyclable bottles are made with 40 percent recycled plastic content and are certified carbon neutral. Within the next four years, the company, a certified B Corp as of Earth Day, has pledged to make all of its packaging with 100 percent recycled plastic.
Like Rothy’s other products, the Evian collection will be produced in the company’s China-based workshop using its own proprietary knitting technology. In March, the company announced its intention to reach full circularity over the next two years, using its plastic-recycling process to pioneer the upcycling of its own used products. The company is also investing in carbon offsets to mitigate its shipping emissions, and aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2023.
“The Rothy’s x Evian partnership is a chance for our team to create a first-of-its-kind capsule collection and push the limits of Rothy’s design and manufacturing capabilities,” said Saskia van Gendt, Rothy’s head of sustainability, adding, “Circular design begins where another product’s life might have ended, and we’re looking forward to repurposing recycled Evian bottles into beautiful, high-quality pieces.”
Rothy’s also revealed plans to open new store locations, according to Footwear News, which is owned by Sourcing Journal’s parent company.
Rothy’s told FN that it plans to double its current physical footprint by 2022. The brand owns six stores in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, where it’s based.
New stores will open new in Pasadena and San Jose, Calif., as well as Atlanta and Scottsdale, Ariz. It will also add new New York and Los Angeles locations, breaking ground on a new Larchmont store this month to complement its Melrose outpost. In Manhattan, Rothy’s plans to open a Nolita location in October.
Heather Skidmore Howard, Rothy’s chief operating officer, told FN that the new stores will land in locations with a “healthy blend” of existing and potential shoppers.
Physical retail will be a key part of the company’s strategy moving forward, especially in major cities. The channel offers consumers more ways to shop the brand, and gives Rothy’s a venue to showcase the recycled materials story that has become central to its value proposition. The company also plans to offer exclusive product that can’t be found online.
Rothy’s recently debuted several new product lines. In July, it launched a line of hemp-infused footwear and accessories, and earlier this spring, it released a men’s line with an assortment of driving loafers and sneakers in several patterns and color ways.