About 200 brands will show at Project New York beginning on Sunday — including a sizable array of footwear offerings. Here are six booths not to miss at the show.
Aaron Osborn’s path to making shoes was circuitous and unusual. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied painting, printmaking and furniture design, Osborn moved to Guatemala after graduation to do nonprofit work. Living there for six years, Osborn met a variety of skilled cobblers and became interested in their craft.
“I fell in love with making shoes and wanted to learn everything about them,” he recalled. After moving back to New York, he and his wife, Carla, began selling small batches of shoes handmade in Guatemala at the Brooklyn Flea Market.
“I used to go down to Guatemala every two or three weeks and bring back some shoes,” said Osborn, whose father and stepmother run an orphanage for special-needs children, called Amor del Niño, on the outskirts of Guatemala City.
In 2007, the Osborns launched their footwear brand and now sell to about 50 stores, including Urban Outfitters, Supply Room, Sir & Madame and Assembly New York. In the process, the company now employs about 34 shoemakers in Guatemala, reinvesting a portion of revenue in community development in that country.
The collection is largely fashioned from fabrics, with some leathers and suedes offered, as well. Some styles are made from recycled plastic bags, which are made into a basket-weave material. Retail prices are $130 for a loafer, $160 for an oxford and $170 to $180 for a boot.
Vivid colors and hand-painted patterns make for eye-catching designs, with some styles incorporating the Osborns’ photography.
“I often think of shoes as upholstery for the human foot,” said Osborn, relating the work to his furniture design studies. “Shoes have a nice skeleton to them. Every year I become more and more in love with the fabrics and the leathers.”
The sleek Adidas SLVR line is currently only available at two branded shops in New York and a shop-in-shop in the Base boutique in Miami. For spring, the line is expanding into wholesale accounts.
Launched in 2008, the Adidas SLVR line is a sport-inspired collection of both tailored and casual sportswear pieces that incorporate elements of comfort, technology and luxury.
“For spring 2012, I was looking into a sport that has an elegance, technique and a tailored approach to it — fencing,” said Dirk Schoenberger, creative director of the sport style division of Adidas, which includes Adidas SLVR. “We took details of that sport, silhouettes of fencing jackets and trousers and turned them into very pure and minimal sportswear pieces.”
The men’s offerings span from a tuxedo in lightweight wool with a nylon belt to sweatpant trousers. Nylon blousons and long, featherweight coats take their cues directly from fencing gear.
Jackets in the collection range from $140 to $780, tops for $125 to $250, pants for $125 to $250 and footwear for $50 to $250.
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