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Jun 1, 2016 8:52 EST

Menswear-inspired footwear for women, men & nonbinary folks. Designed and created for all genders and foot sizes.

iCrowdNewswire - Jun 1, 2016

Menswear-inspired footwear for women, men & nonbinary folks.

 

 

 

 

Premium quality footwear handcrafted in Portugal. Designed and created for all genders and foot sizes.

 

About this project

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Update: Our shoes now come in ALL-BLACK colorways! You will also be able to choose between a blacked-out sole or a white Vibram / natural leather sole. 

 

Photo by Honor Kennedy
Photo by Honor Kennedy

 

          

We are two sisters from San Francisco now living in Berlin and NYC respectively. We love great design- especially when it comes to shoes- and have long lamented the lack of diversity in women’s footwear. We are just two individuals of many who crave traditional menswear shoe styles but can never find them in our smaller sizes. We’re here to fix this. 

From the minute we’re born, we’re assigned a gender and told what we can and can’t be, what we should and shouldn’t wear. As a symptom of this, outdated gender expectations dominate the shopping experience. It’s time for a change.

We often see things framed from a dominantly male perspective (“boyfriend jeans”, “menswear inspired”) that seems limiting and unfair, especially towards women and non-binary folks. Women’s shoes are often either poorly constructed imitations of their “menswear” counterparts or have frilly, frivolous, overly feminizing details. 

We believe that style transcends gender lines, and we aim to even the playing field, starting from the ground up: shoes.

Our mission is simply to create top quality, beautiful footwear and make it accessible to all genders and foot sizes.

Photo by Maansi Jain
Photo by Maansi Jain

 

 

*Let us know if your shoe size falls outside this range and we'll do our best to accomodate you.
*Let us know if your shoe size falls outside this range and we’ll do our best to accomodate you.

 

 

 

 

 Photos by www.thunderkhat.de

 

Our factory has 60+ years of experience creating premium quality traditional menswear footwear.
Our factory has 60+ years of experience creating premium quality traditional menswear footwear.

Quality is built into every single detail of our shoes:

  • We use vegetable tanned leather for the upper AND lining. Many shoes are built to look pretty on the outside, and compromise on the inner details to cut down on costs. We were having none of this, so we made sure that the lining- the part that’s closest to your skin- is of the utmost quality. The softness of the lining makes for an especially lovely experience when you slip on the boots. 
  • For our ripple-soled boots, we used the best quality outsoles available, from Vibram.There are imitations out there that are much cheaper, but ours will last you much longer than any imitation would. 
  • For our leather-sole shoes, we use a double layer forefoot for long-lasting wear, plus a stacked leather heel. Many brands (even the most expensive luxury ones!) use other materials like MDF (compressed fiberboard) for their heels which is much cheaper, and can also warp when exposed to the elements. 

A discouraging reality of the consumer goods industry is that products are often created for men as a default, and then modified in some way so as to be suitable for women. We consider this ‘strategy’ insulting to all genders and instead recognize and celebrate the diversity in personal aesthetic choices. As a way of evening the playing field, we’re offering beautiful, sustainable shoes in the full size range. 

 

Veggie tan develops a rich patina when used and exposed to the elements.
Veggie tan develops a rich patina when used and exposed to the elements.

Vegetable tanned leather (or veggie tan, for short) is leather that’s produced in the most organic way possible. Its color comes from natural ingredients; ours are colored with tree bark tannins. We’re using veggie tan exclusively for our shoes.

What exactly is vegetable tanned leather?

Vegetable-tanned leather is:

  • Free of the heavy metals found substantially in most commercially-produced leathers. 
  • biodegradable. Not that we’d want you to do this, but- if you bury our leather in the ground, it will be gone after 100 years. 

What is vegetable tanned leather NOT?

Veggie tan is not:

  • cheap. Veggie tan is one of the most expensive leathers because it takes much longer to produce than chrome-tanned leathers (weeks vs days.) For a product that should be heirloom quality, there is no alternative, so we think the extra cost is more than worth it!
  • vegetarian or vegan. Leather is leather- and ours comes from Portuguese and Spanish cows. 

What makes vegetable tanned leather great?

Veggie tan leather is an heirloom quality material: it gets better with age. We love it because it grows with you. Many commercial leathers are finished with plastics and/or paints which covers up the natural beauty of the material. We love seeing the natural properties of veggie tan evolve with time and use. 

Our tannery

Our factory is one of three tanneries in Portugal that still produces vegetable tanned leather. Added bonus: they’re located mere kilometers from our factory, which is great for several reasons. It means that once our production leathers are complete, they can reach our factory in minutes, enabling production to begin as soon as possible. Short physical distance covered also means a reduced carbon footprint.

 

 

 

 

Mr Jose, the owner of our factory.
Mr Jose, the owner of our factory.

There are a lot of footwear manufacturers out there all over the world and we’re confident we’re working with one of the best out there: they create gorgeous, high quality footwear for some of the world’s best-known luxury brands, and we are beyond thrilled to work with them.We think you’re going to admire their craftsmanship just as much as we do.

One of the things that makes our factory unique is their small size- they employ only about 25 people. This means that each production run gets the utmost care and attention.

 

Photos: www.maansi-jain.com 

 Photos: www.thunderkhat.de

 Model: www.QUEERVANITY.com

 

 

 

 

 

We know that buying shoes online can be an inexact art and that different sizes can mean something different across different brands. That’s why, pending a successful campaign, we’ll be sending our backers instructions for determing key foot measurements. This will help us to figure out which size you are in our shoes. Generally speaking our sizes shouldn’t be off your ‘normal’ size, but this will help us be extra sure.

The general size range runs around 35-48 (European sizing), but if you fall outside of these ranges, then let us know and we’re prepared to make you our shoes in your size. 

 

 

Our first footwear collection is just the start- we’ve got so many more ideas that we’ve already started exploring, all with the goal of making the shopping experience a better one for everyone. 

Getting to this point has been a monumental effort and would not have been possible without the incredibly generous help of so many people all over the world. We are infinitely grateful! 

 

 

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

We have a very thorough background in designing and developing footwear. We’ve visited our footwear manufacturer four times in the past year and a half covering every single detail of the design and development process.

Our samples are 100% production ready and our factory is simply waiting for us to place our first production order. The only risks and challenges are those that come with producing any footwear: delays from the tannery and other component suppliers.

We don’t anticipate any problems, but should any hiccups arise, we will keep you updated and in the loop on any new timelines.

We have full confidence in our manufacturer and can tell you they are just as excited about our project as we are.

Contact Information:

MATRIARCH

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