A minimal, clean, no-frill collection, where research concentrates on the materials used and on the innovative techniques in making shoes. Quality and contemporary spirit: this is what has made Mobi footwear so desirable and brought the collection and their creator, Marco Betti, all the way to the “Who’s on next?” finals. Betti may not have won this edition of the esteemed competition sponsored by Pitti Immagine and L’Uomo Vogue, but his footwear, with their strong personality – far from being an eccentric and passing trend – has conquered a new audience, and not just workers. The designer tells us about the range – which he heads in parallel to his commitment to another famous fashion brand – in this much talked-about collection as the latest Pitti Immagine comes to an end.
How did you come about to designing your own brand?
I have worked in developing footwear for almost seven years now. Parallel to working in a variety of brands (at the moment I am Product Manager for Shoes & Bags with Neil Barrett), I wanted to finally find a vent for my aesthetic vision, developing my own footwear collection. I think it was a natural process within my work experience. The challenge of working in a large fashion Maison is certainly important, but completely different to the challenge of putting your own image and name into a project.
Tell us about your A/W 2014/15 collection.
The A/W 2014-15 is my second collection. It is called "Once I was a dandy", and it tells the story of a 45 year old English dandy who, living through the economic crisis od 2014, finds some old ruined leather shoes in his loft and patches them up with the rich English linings of his suits or repairs the soles with rubber, developing three unisex models: derby, penny loafer and a Chelsea boot.
And what are the main characteristics of the S/S 15 collection that you brought to Pitti?
Of my first three collections, the one that best represents my character is the one I have been lucky enough to bring to Pitti. Essential, contemporary and traditionally made. Four unisex models (derby, derby with elastic, penny loafer and a Vans-style slip on), two leathers (a natural grain and a half calf-skin with rubber finishing), three colours (white, black and nude) and a single sole made in microfiber and suede with a rubber sole and double welt in suede and microfiber.
What are the must have pieces of the collection?
Certainly the models with the colour block play (white, black and nude in the same shoe) and those with both leathers. They synthetically express the theme of the S/S 2015 collection (“Life & Death”) and fully express the brand’s DNA.
Where do you get inspiration for your work?
I do not look for inspiration for my work in books or after visiting an exhibition. I believe that to be creative you should also have the ability to express life experiences through your products (whatever they may be). Having said that, although there may always be inspiration that seems to come from afar, through my collections I tell nothing more than my personal life experience which I want to share with people through a collection of shoes.
A memory linked to your participation in WION?
To be honest, I came to WION rather incredulous. I would never have imagined getting this far. Having said that, I have many positive memories and I must say that having been able to participate in such an important event was a truly unforgettable experience. Meeting with the press, the competition judges, having met five new brands that, like me, are trying hard to fulfil their dream… so many memories of an experience that I hope will be the first of many that will come as the brand develops.
How important is an event like Pitti for young brands like yours?
I must say that I have always come to Pitti and this is the first time I have been here as an “exhibitor”. Splendid organisation and so much support for us as WION finalists. It continues to be one of the main events where young brands like mine have the chance to come into contact – not only commercially – with the employees.