Four generations of experience in the footwear sector: Nicola Masolini (RE-BORN; IT)

Nicola Masolini is one of the founders and a creative director of the RE-BORN. Also, he is an entrepreneur, a dreamer, a visionaire and a traveller. He reflects, among other things, on the importance of recycling and upcycling, and why local production is important. 

When and by whom was the brand established, and what were the reasons to do that? 

Our family began making shoes after the first world war, officially in 1949. The RE-BORN  was born in 2019 following my previous working experience in Africa, where I spent 12 years supporting the development of the shoes sector in Africa. Returning home, I felt the need to create a more sustainable environment in my family company going towards the attention of recycling and no-waste philosophy. 

What does RE-BORN do? 

RE-BORN creates handmade shoes from recycled materials and production waste goods. The most challenging thing is the process of searching and selecting the material that must be of high-quality and ethically suitable for RE-BORN. 

What has changed during the years? 

One can find more information about our company Eredi Masolini/Masolini1949 (RE-BORN producers) here: The company has lived through different changes  in regards with design, marketing, materials and fashion. I would focus more on how the change of material has moved from the early beginnings, when we used natural and recycled materials like leather, textile, natural rubber, then the introduction of plastic and synthetic glues, and finally, going back to the early years when RE-BORN was looking for recycled sustainable materials. 

The production of RE-BORN takes place entirely in Italy. Why is local production important? 

We believe in a sustainable and ethical production made-in-house where we can control all the production step by step guaranteeing the highest quality possible. 

What are RE-BORN concerns about the environment?

The foundation of RE-BORN philosophy is NO WASTE. That’s my personal belief that I brought into our company’s vision and mission. Overproduction, in any industry, is one of main issues the world is experiencing today. 

What kind of impact does RE-BORN aim to achieve? 

Doing shoes is our way to re-use materials that otherwise would have gone wasted or destroyed creating pollution and industrial garbage.

What does recycling and upcycling mean to RE-BORN Shoes? 

RE-BORN was born from my personal philosophy and life experiences, therefore whatever we promise with our brand, is the same we live everyday in my house.  

Kevin Moss, the Global Director of the Center for Sustainable Business, has said: “Circularity could reduce material extraction and waste through reuse — but at the cost of what other resources? Will circularity reduce consumption, or just maximize use of existing products? /…/ Zero waste and 100% circularity have become popular goals — but achieving them can be surprisingly resource-intensive and could lead to actions that compromise overall sustainability. /…/ In fact, purchasing products based only on what is recyclable is a misguided way to make buying decisions. /…/ Lower consumption will only be realized if we value longevity and reuse over the purchase of virgin material-based goods. That message has not yet been fully adopted by businesses, even those that are starting to understand the appeal of circular economy. A prominent fast fashion apparel company carries in many of its U.S. stores two prominent messages, often on adjacent boards. One reminds us to “rewear, reuse and recycle”—but right next to it is an equally prominent sign that reads “We have new stuff coming in every day, so why don’t you?”” How would you comment on that? 

The point raised by Moss is actually an issue. We believe that overproduction is not the way to develop a new hope. We focus on ethics, quality and durability rather than high production and market share. 

What’s next up for RE-BORN? 

We are now working on a new business model to focus on internationalising our brand.

Get inspired!