Reflections & Thoughts

Roccamore, a brand protecting human dignity

I met Frederikke Antonie Schmidt for the first time by the end of 2021. I was invited by Sara Pestana, the founder of Humans for Humans, to assist at a presentation happening at HerSpace. Frederikke would give a talk about Women in Leadership.  December is a cold and dark month  in Norway and I didn’t feel like socializing that much.

The description briefly introduced Frederikke,  a Danish entrepreneur and founder of Roccamore, meaning Fortress of Love –in italian. The brand started with a boutique in Denmark and has expanded to the Norwegian market. 

I saw the promotional picture: she was, sitting and looking into the camera with a light pink background.  This lady was wearing a blouse and high boots with an animal print. I thought that the photographer’s intention  was to  project Frederikke’s strength, there was a sense of power in the image, and a sense of fashion too. 

I went to her website and checked the shoe designs, all with high heels. The shoes are on the expensive side, they offer a big variety of models, from classical designs to the most modern and daring ones. With all my publicity prejudices I thought:  her target most be all about getting middle and upper classes women to spend their money on her “ fashionable commodity” shoes.

Nevertheless, something inside me was curious about listening to what she had to say. I tried to ignore my prejudices aside and went to the presentation to listen. As the saying goes: Don’t judge a book by its cover, maybe I could learn something.  One could think this is just another company profiting from exploiting people in the chain of production, but not in this case, Frederikke was very clear about that. 

Frederikke A. Schmidt had something to say and to give, not just to women but to the world. She is adding social and ethical value to her brand by producing good quality shoes that are sustainably made.  The brand’s concept is to have comfortable high heel shoes that empower those who wear them – “We believe that it is easier to be confident in your heels, and we have made them as comfortable as possible, so you can stand strong every day.” As stated in their website, Roccamore heels relieve 26% of the pressure from the forefoot, as well as 44% from the arch of the foot while walking, this has been scientifically validated.

Then, who is Frederikke? First impressions: she had the look of someone who likes fashion, perhaps by the way she was dressed… elegant but bit extravagant. She began pitching us her brand whilst describing how she started the business, and officially becoming an entrepreneur. After having the idea of starting her own shoe brand,  Frederikke needed to make an action plan that was specific and had to stick to it to be successful. However, she needed to prioritize on how to receive the funding for her business.

After finding investors to fund the company, she conducted research on the best shoe makers in Italy. As for the shoes, Frederikke only looked to purchase high-quality and environmentally friendly shoe materials to protect the welfare of animals. In line with this, she mentioned that she got the first shoe Cradle to Cradle Certificate in the world. As illustrated on her website: “To receive the certification, our shoes have been assessed for environmental and social performance across five critical sustainability categories” Guaranteeing fair trade.. 

Frederikke also mentioned the following: “We don’t need more things, we need better things”, which underpins the importance of purchasing better quality products that will last longer, than of low quality that need to be replaced in a short period of time. Frederikke believes in excellence, and she offers it in every single pair of heels that she sells. 

As of sustainability, she considers this pivotal and created a collection that used 52% less water (with the stainable tanning method). All her production chain is 100% traceable, and is fully aware of the sources of leather and the conditions in the farms. In situations where animals are not well protected and treated, she would immediately end any collaboration with existing suppliers.

Additionally, Frederikke cares about the employees working conditions at the factories, ensuring that wages are fair, working hours and conditions are EU respected and the equipment used is secure. This superwoman is committed to create a brand that is femine and represents strength. Like many women, Roccamore enjoys taking care of every single detail, from the creativity of the designs to CO2 reduction. 

So far she owns four stores, the first one started in her home country, Denmark; the most recent one is located in Oslo. I was satisfied when I learnt all the hard work and care that she put into building the brand and figured out why a sustainable brand can’t be cheap, they go against disposable products. Roccamore and her founder aim to deliver high quality shoes, and most importantly, she makes sure that ethical values are followed. 

If you, like many other women around the world, want to find a pair of heels that are not only fashionable, comfortable and durable but sustainable and caring, committed to reduce pollution and respect Human and Animal Rights. Because, even if she didn’t mention it in the presentation, you can read it on her website. Read it between lines  –Roccamore stands up against any type of human and animal exploitation or slavery. 

Roccamore empowers every woman by protecting life and dignity, it is a brand that nurtures and connects with our sense of care for us and for others. Roccamore is not just a fashion brand, it’s a better way of consuming and perceiving our existence on this Earth where we are continuously affecting  each other’s existence. 

After reading this, you don’t have to go and buy their shoes. As part of the Humans For Humans team, my aim is to invite you to reflect on what you buy, and how much you know about the products sustainability that you acquire.

Maybe it is time to look for brands committed to take care of our planet, and if possible, prefer them over others that may be cheaper but ignore the exploitation and slavery intertwined in the production processs. 

You can also visit Cradle to Cradle to check some brands that care and work to build better things, not more. 

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