By: Susannah Jaffer; photography by Michael BernabeHair & makeup by The Big Blow
Advocating stylish simplicity, new bespoke fashion footwear brand George Blue specialises in resort wear sandals, all handmade in Italy. We sat down with fashion sandals brand founder Rebecca Walters to talk shoes, shoes and more shoes.
There’s a lot to be said for a company that identifies a gap in the fashion market and attempts to fill it in the most sustainable and stylish way possible. That’s just what Rebecca Walters, the founder and director of new bespoke luxury sandals footwear brand George Blue, set out to achieve after her frustration with trying to find a casual, yet chic fashion flip flop while shopping in Asia.
“I wanted to offer women a refined, beautifully made product, instead of something mass-produced and mass-marketed,” she explains.
Check out the work of Tuscan cobblers and George Blue founder Rebecca Walters in the gallery above
In 2012, leaving behind a successful banking career, Rebecca took the fashion sandals matter into her own hands and embarked on an entrepreneurial journey. A sourcing lead took her to the hills of Tuscany where the best fashion Italian leather can be found.
As luck would have it, she was directed to a tannery in the small Tuscan town of Santa Croce sull’Arno that crafts and supplies sole leather for a number of well-known European luxury brands. The tannery introduced her to artisans at a renowned local shoes factory who liked the simplicity of her designs and her penchant for quality, and for those reasons agreed to produce her collections – the rest, as they say, is history.
Each bespoke George Blue shoes sole is cut from nubuck leather and then hand-stitched at a workshop in the Tuscan countryside. Next, a team of craftsmen stitch the leather straps before the shoe is put together by hand using traditional moulds. The sole is then finished through a smoothing and polishing process.
Rebecca chose to keep the bespoke shoes production process within a small radius in Italy so as to minimise the company’s footprint; all materials, including the leather and the packaging, come from sustainable supplies.
The bespoke shoes brand’s core Launch collection focuses on staple colours and finishes. Tan leather soles are combined with straps in classic fashion sandals colours including white, patent nude and metallic gold and silver. Also featured are bold animal prints in calf hair leather, while vibrant pink and teal add a fun pop of colour to these bespoke shoes.
Released in early 2014, the limited shoes edition Exotic collection showcases a more fashion forward feel, with animal-embossed leathers and CITES-certified python skins that boast stunning textures, giving any outfit a luxurious edge. Another new fashion sandals design detail is the introduction of a sleek black leather shoes sole – perfect for pairing with casual-luxe attire during the day or with dressed-up looks for evening.
The bespoke fashion sandals also come packaged in gorgeous blue must-keep shoeboxes, finished with satin ribbon. Rebecca says, “As George Blue is an online fashion shoes and sandals business, I’ve made sure the customer experience is one of pure pleasure – from the ease of ordering to the super-quick deliveries, the joy of receiving a beautiful package and, of course, the bespoke fashion sandals themselves!”
For more information and to shop online, visit George Blue. Stockist: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong.
EL readers are entitled to a special 15-percent discount from now until the end of July – just enter “GB-ELHK” at the checkout.