Published: September 21, 2015 • Behind the scenes / Process / Video

As a designer, it’s incredibly hard to let things go, particularly when it comes to the creation of a product. Quality of construction, ethical manufacturing practices, attention to detail - these are the tenets we pride ourselves on, and I never thought I’d allow for anything we sell to be created outside of our own four walls. Until I wore a pair of these shoes. I was given a pair of handcrafted boots as a gift, and after a week of wearing them nonstop, I knew it was the shoe for our brand. Everything I try to accomplish with clothing, these shoes have it. Versatility, utter simplicity, practicality, beauty, and comfort. The slim, flattering fit, lack of hardware, just-right stacked heel, soft leather sole, and buttery glove-soft feeling on my foot - they even fold down to virtually flat for packing, making them an ideal travel shoe. This is Elizabeth Suzann in a shoe.

After lengthy consideration about carrying an out-of-house product, I decided that recognizing the work of someone else as great could be just as valuable as creating something great. I also knew that if we were going to introduce shoes at all, I wanted them to be ones that were expertly made and that inspired passion in me. I tracked down the maker of the gifted pair of boots, and nervously asked if she had any interest in producing a limited shoe collection for us. The more I learned about her process, the more natural of a fit the relationship felt. We worked with Faye to get the design just right - perfecting the sole, heel height, and finish - and settled on a simple boot and flat, in two exclusive, beautiful leathers.

These shoes are all produced one pair at a time by hand in a beautiful, airy Barcelona workshop. She learned the trade in Spain, and she worked alongside her teacher and apprentice this summer to create the collection. The art of traditional shoe-making is far more captivating than I could have imagined, and watching the process unfold has been nothing short of inspiring. Each step is carefully thought out and executed skillfully by hand. From selection of the leathers, stretching on the last, hand nailing the sole, to polishing the leather heel - by the time a pair is complete, I can’t help but feel it’s taken on a little bit of the soul of the hands that made it.

I believe that what goes into the creation of an object is just as important as the finished object itself. That concept is a driving force behind our brand, and I couldn’t be more honored to sell shoes that are made with the same care and responsibility we take in-house with our garments. I’m incredibly proud of this shoe collection and the artisans bringing it to life, and I hope you enjoy seeing the process as much as we did.

 

Comments

  • Posted by Elizabeth Pape on November 30, 2016

    Hi Ana!

    Thank you for reaching out. These shoes are indeed made by Faye of Sevilla Smith – however, she does so under private label. She makes custom styles for us using different leathers, colored soles and sometimes completely custom silhouettes (our mule for example) than she sells in her own shop. The reason for the price difference is that she sells to customers at a wholesale price rather than a retail price (meaning she charges just what she need to cover material and labor). We pay the same retail price as customers ($275) for each pair, and sell them for a small marginal markup (30% in the shoe world is very small). We sell these shoes because I truly believe in their wonderful-ness, and wanted to make them accessible to our customers in colors and leathers that pair well with our own fabrics and colors (there are only a few leathers from her own line that I would pair with our garments). We are also not shoemakers, so to be able to sell shoes at all, we need to purchase them from another maker. We cannot sell them for the same price we pay for them, and she cannot sell them to us for any less than the $275 she’s already selling them in her own shop. I believe the small markup we add is well worth the value we add with new color and leather options, as well as the accessibility of them being in stock and ready to ship vs. made to order from her shop. She has been a true joy to work with and we are honored to be providing her and her Barcelona workshop with consistent work. If you’d rather shop directly with Faye through Sevilla Smith, you are of course welcome to do so (and I encourage it!), but the shoes and accompanying leathers sold here are exclusive to ES. I really appreciate your question and commitment to learning about your purchases. Please let me know if this is unclear or if I can answer any additional questions for you, I am happy to discuss this further!

    Liz

  • Posted by Ana on November 29, 2016

    Hi,
    These shoes look lovely; however I think they’re by the talented Sevilla Smith? They seem very similar, almost identical, to her Terilyn shoes, which I love, and I was wondering why since those are $275, these are $385, more than a $100 pricier? I’d love a reply, because I’m drawn to Elizabeth Suzann partly for excellent and transparent business practices and have bought quite a lot of things from you as a result, and don’t like feeling like something is off.
    Thanks.

  • Posted by Morgan on September 30, 2016

    Beautiful process, looking forward to the boots arriving. Also, who is the singer / band playing in the video? Lovely. Cheers from Asheville!

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