Have you ever heard of R3 CONCEPT? The Montreal shoe brand offers eco-responsible sneakers made from recycled materials. Launched in 2021 by Étienne Pré, the project is inspired by the phenomenon of the three Rs, reduce, reuse, recycle, to create minimalist designs that combine comfort and durability. Among R3 CONCEPT’s most successful models is the pair of trendy Ultra Zero Waste shoes made to meet environmental needs. Composed of 1.4 kg of reused waste, the manufacturing methods implemented in the brand’s factories save 4,330 litres of water and 1.45 kg of CO2 for each shoe design. We chatted with Étienne to learn more! —Noa Nichol
Hello Étienne! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
To talk about myself, I’d like to start with what I like. I like things that are concrete and simple. In college, I remember our visual art teacher was always saying “the simpler the better,” and I’ve kept that sentence in mind to this day. I’m passionate about product development and design. For me, nature, art, and fashion rhyme together. These three pillars are the reflection of R3 CONCEPT.
When and why did you launch R3 CONCEPT? What niche where/are you aiming to fill?
R3 CONCEPT was launched in the summer of 2021, but the company was registered in 2019 and was known to my family and friends, so it was time for me to learn more about the industry before the official launch in 2021. I was influenced from a young age by my mother who had a sewing workshop. I also wanted to change my consumption habits to help the environment, so I was looking for an eco-responsible sneaker. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the ones I found on the market, or they were way too expensive, I had the impression that the brands were not adapting to the consumer’s evolution. So, I created R3 CONCEPT, a brand that inspires change through innovative materials, without compromising design. R3 CONCEPT is for anyone who believes that art and sustainability can coexist. It’s something that you don’t often see a lot of in Canada, especially in Montréal. It’s also about making high-end affordable, because we produce in the same factories as the big companies. I don’t understand why a pair of sneakers can cost $500 and if you’re unlucky it’s not even sustainable.
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
For now, we offer casual sneakers. What makes these shoes unique is the transparency in all aspects of the design right down to the final selling price. We use premium sustainable materials like bio-based sugar cane to make the lining which offers undeniable comfort and makes the shoes odor resistant.
Let’s dive deeper into the sustainability of these sneakers: in what ways do you keep the environment in mind from start to finish? How does the sustainability factor differ in each of the shoe designs? Are some “greener” than others?
We strive to create products that are as sustainable as possible, not only in terms of materials but also by creating products that can be worn for as long as possible. We ensure that 90 per cent of our products are made from recycled or organic materials. We consider sustainability at every stage of our business, from design to consumer, we encourage consumers to never throw away our products or to donate them if they want more. To ensure that we are working to improve our planet and preserve nature, as the saying goes “without nature, there is no art”. Yes, because minimizing our impact is a journey. With our reliable partners in Europe, we are rethinking the selection of leathers for the sneakers, the goal being to positively improve our impact, for example we might look for soles made from post-industrial rubber remnants for our next model which is a better alternative in terms of quality and durability.
Regarding the designs, what aesthetic and details can we find in these sneakers?
I’ve always had a passion for minimalist style, minimalism is part of R3 CONCEPT’s DNA. Creating casual shoes first was important to me, especially since today the demand for casual style is on the rise. I really like the details on the Ultra zero waste seams on the sole, the small logo on the vamp and the green lining, are just some of the signatures you will find.
Which pair of R3 CONCEPT sneakers will you be rocking this fall?
We have a vintage model coming out soon. I think I’ll be wearing them all fall from Monday to Sunday, morning through night.
Win! A Pair of R3 CONCEPT Sneakers!
Congrats David S. of Calgary, AB, who will receive a pair of R3 CONCEPT sneakers! To enter, follow @r3concept and @vitadaily.ca on Instagram and follow the entry rules on our corresponding post. Contest opens September 13, 2022, and closes September 20, 2022. Rules and regulations here. Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.