Plain Tiger Spotlight: Momoc

Not just a pretty shoe

By Renee Fortune

“I was in a ‘save the planet’ mood, and I wanted to play my part somehow.”

This is how Gabriela Machado Llavero describes what inspired her to start Momoc the brand. Despite the fact that Momoc shoes look like something straight from the runway, Gabriela’s story is not one of a conventional fashion designer. 

She didn’t start out as a mainstream ‘creative,’ or go through any form of linear journey to founding a footwear brand. For a large part of her life, she worked as an international tax lawyer, at one of the world’s most ubiquitous advisory firms in Luxembourg. She was living, what many consider to be, the idyllic life of a career woman, in a sector that has its fair share of opportunities for professional development. But something was missing.

She began to feel a growing urge to be in contact with the natural world – to reconnect with the very stuff and fibre of existence. Thankfully, she had enough courage to follow this urge. On impulse, she took unpaid leave and followed her instincts to the rugged, rolling expanses of New Zealand. The rest is pretty much the story of Momoc. 
As she explains: “if you’ve ever been to New Zealand, you’ll understand what I mean when I say my experience there changed me. In New Zealand I saw nature, laid bare, in all its breathtaking beauty. And for the first time in forever, I was able to immerse myself in that beauty and be a part of it. I returned to the office a different woman to the woman who had left Luxembourg. And I haven’t been the same since. 

My deep experience in nature made me acutely aware of the value of the earth and its resources. I began to notice how saturated contemporary living is with plastic, and developed a desire to lead a more sustainable life. I knew that there were many others who felt the same and I became determined to do something about it. I eventually found my niche in footwear when I went in search of shoes that were made according to eco-friendly production methods and with sustainable materials. 

My search revealed that office-appropriate footwear that is respectful of the earth, is very rare – almost non-existent. I wanted footwear that is feminine, elegant, vegan and sustainable. Today, Momoc is all those things.”

A number of Momoc’s clients share the common experience of being stopped by passers-by who ask where their shoes are from. When you see the Momoc collection, you’ll soon see why. In the range you’ll find ‘dancers, ballerinas’ and ‘sneakers’ – each of them with their own unique shape and design that speaks to sustainability, comfort and style; all at the same time. 

There are the City by Night Vegan Ballerinas with their embroidered moon symbols and cityscape-inspired geometric design along the sides. This particular design, which reflects the skyline of Hong Kong at night, was designed by Jocob Ho. He was inspired to create a shoe that captured the feeling of returning to your family after a hard day’s work and to go for a walk in the moonlight. 

The UglySneakers Eve Snake also has a story. Designer María Álvarez drew inspiration from the biblical story of Adam and Eve. In her more contemporary version of the tale, Eve does not commit a sin. Instead, she allies herself with the serpent and finds a way to live her bliss in paradise forever. For Álvarez, these sneakers are a challenge to break the rules. And, as you’ll see for yourself, there’s certainly nothing ‘ugly’ about these sneakers. They; just like the other shoes in the collection, are undeniably iconic. 

Momoc shoes are the kind of footwear you’ll want to wear, again and again. But at the same time, they’re the kind of shoes you’ll want to display. These are not the kind of shoes to be stored behind closed doors. They should be admired, gazed at and put on show. I like to think of them as ‘coffee-table shoes.’

But, Momocs are not just pretty shoes. They’re also made with respect for nature. The majority of the shoes have soles made out of recycled tyres and wood. The insoles are made of chrome-free eco-suede and recycled fabric such as Piñatex®, an innovative, natural textile made from recycled pineapple leaf fibres. And each pair of Momocs are produced according to ethical standards and methods in Spain. 

As Gabriela explains; in a snapshot, Momoc shoes can be summarised as follows:

  • Handmade
  • Unique, one-of-a-kind designs
  • Perfectly imperfect – no two pairs are the same
  • Made with locally sourced textiles
  • Made with recycled, ecological and vegan materials
  • Original, plastic-free packaging
  • Brand transparency

So there you have it. Momocs tick all the boxes. It’s the footwear of the future, and that future is certainly looking bright.
$161.86 USD