Human hands are unique. Our fingers feel; our touch, smell and other senses guide us to the desired object or pleasure. Life’s pleasures of eating great food, drinking great vintage wines, and buying high-quality, beautiful shoes do give us instant gratification and “heal” our mood for a fraction of time. When we buy good quality shoes, this pleasure can be relived and enjoyed for many years.
Handcrafted Leather Shoes are product of human hands and the eye of a skilled shoemaker. Often, handcrafted shoes are slightly irregular. Not every stitch line will be exactly the same and even. But well-experienced Italian shoemakers are skilled to produce immaculate quality to please the eye of the wearer to match the pleasure our feet feel.
The secret is the tradition and legacy of Italian shoe making. I have visited shoe factories for over a decade from Italy, Brazil, China and even India to El Paso, Texas.
Most large factories built off shore employ a cheap labor force. In China, young 18-20 year old people make the shoes. These individuals are inexperienced and working on an hourly basis, forced to meet their daily quota. There is no love, no connection and no legacy.
Handcrafted Leather shoes made in Italy, Spain or Portugal rely on the legacy of hundreds of years of secrets and techniques passed down by generations of shoe makers.
Salvatore Ferragamo originally opened his business in the US serving Hollywood stars. Within a few years, however, Salvatore was consumed with the problem solving of uncomfortable shoes. Unhappy with poor results and lack of skilled labor, Salvatore moved back to Italy and built his empire on the skills and traditions there.
Today handcrafted leather shoes are a luxury.
Human hands are the most expensive tools, human eye and experience the most appreciated and legacy and tradition the most admired and wanted.
Boutique designers and small stores, which have always been challenged by low numbers of consumers, had little chance of survival.
Fortunately, thanks to social media and the open connective economy, this is changing today. More people shop on-line; more people are influenced by real people (the bloggers), not fashion magazines dictating the look with heavily advertised pages of large fashion titans.
More people are now able to find unique designs and exquisite and original pieces on-line even when they live far from any boutiques and small stores.
Department stores face declining traffic due to the ease and comfort of shopping at home. Click click – Etsy, ebay, Amazon, e-commerce . . . it is all now available, and we are in control of what we want to buy, where we want to buy it and why we want to buy items from a specific designer.
Support the Boutique, Handcrafted Industry, and you will be guaranteed one-of-a-kind style, your own and personal signature!
DESIGNER MONIKA KUSINSKA
With more than 15 years of experience designing for women’s fashion brands, award-winning shoe designer Monika Kusinska launched Autograf New York in 2014. Driven by her personal endeavor to find well-made, comfortable shoes in uncommon sizes in the United States, Kusinska-Paez decided to bring the luxury of high-quality, Italian leather shoes stateside. In 2000, she attended Parsons School of Design with a concentration on footwear, and later designed for women’s shoe brands including Ann Taylor, Fossil, Lucchese and Camuto Group.