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Lucire: Fashion
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Lucire 2012

Go sister, sole sister, go

Elyse Glickman agrees that no matter the lifestyle, a woman’s shoes say a lot about her outlook and direction in life. However, sisters Aritsa and Valia Anastopoulos takes their artisanal shoe business to great heights by melding their Greek grandparents’ shoemaking legacy with precious components and contemporary design

 

It is safe to say that the Anastopoulos sisters enjoyed playing dress up as well as ‘Take a Giant Step’ as children. However, they invented their own rules as they went along, artfully reconciling shoemaking craftsmanship of the past with the modern woman's desire to speak through her shoes to communicate confidence and individuality. However, don’t ask them to name names. After all, their rules involve following their own lead rather than familiar icons or ubiquitous celebrities.

‘There are many important shoe designers, but we don’t have a specific muse,’ declares Aritsa, the design half of the team. ‘We admire the manufacturing of some, while in others, designs attract our eye. Ideally, we strive to continuously approach our lines with great design creativity combined with high-quality assembly.

‘Our inspiration is the everyday female that works and wanders the world around us. Fashion icons can change rapidly, while our fashion inspiration has its roots in what a woman wants in elements of fit, quality, design and style.’

As Aritsa explains it, having grown in the factory started by their grandparents and, later, managed by their parents inevitably led to a lot of creative experimentation, especially as they had a vast variety of materials, colours and small decorative objects at their playtime disposal. The childhood game of “dress-up” in turn inspired ideas that stayed with them, and led to ideas for their first collection. It also prompted them to keep the family business going, but have it take steps in bold directions.

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‘It is our strong belief that we stand out due to our willingness to be daring in design, liveliness, playfulness and innovation,’ says stylist sister Valia. ‘We take a classic Greek design, like the Gladiator sandal, and put a new twist on it by adding Swarovski crystal studs, silver hardware and ornate elements to make it a modern fashion statement. The time for a breakthrough has come and we are really proud to participate.’

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‘It was a personal choice to keep our business family-based, in order to be able to support a unique quality, customer oriented approach,’ agrees Aritsa. ‘We grow in a pace that is always one step beyond the market need without losing our roots. By remaining small, we adjust easily to our business needs and the needs of the market-place. As everyone knows, economic times are tough in Greece right now and by remaining small but building a large international network, we can maintain our business and ride the waves of the up and down Greek economy.’

Aritsa notes that the inspiration for Sorelle materials is Greece itself. ‘The sun, sea and breezes remind us daily to stay close to nature,’ she says. ‘Through our creations we try to awaken all senses and create a warm feeling of nostalgia for pure and natural elements, while at the same time, use exciting and daring materials. We have wonderful sourcing partners in Italy for leathers and in other parts of the world for our component pieces like Swarovski crystals and the handmade metal adornments. The embellishments of our footwear really set Sorelle apart and why we use the term, “Jewellery for Your Feet” as our tag line.’

Though the heart of Sorelle is Greek, the soul is global. The sisters make numerous journeys around the globe and participate in a great variety of important trade shows, events and exhibitions. This year, they are making the leap beyond Europe and the Asian continent to bring Sorelle products to the United States and other global markets. ‘This will be accomplished by marketing the collections through the internet and and expanding their marketing reach into Hollywood and the international fashion market through strong efforts by our US counterparts who are actively creating our marketing and brand strategy to begin building Sorelle into a major global fashion brand.’ However, they insist the best marketing testimonials come from consumers at the grass roots’ level.

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‘Our upcoming collections will remain on track with earlier designs,’ points out Valia. ‘Our colour palette is more neutral with beige, black and white being the main feature. We are experimenting with new types of adornment with the Swarovski crystals and through our fantastic metal workers. Our biggest selling styles in Europe are always sandals and flats, but now that we are branching out into the US market, we are sure to see a larger demand for heels and are planning some new styles to meet demand.’

Though the sisters share a common passion for fine design, quality ingredients and a fashionable wardrobe, they believe the strong family ties will enable the line to thrive and not only weather Greece’s economy, but also different economic and fashion climates around the world because they literally have each other.

‘We really function as one person, which brings us often to a dynamic argument that sparks creation to enlighten our path of future designs,’ muses Aritsa. ‘We also have a parallel taste, values and goals that outline the code of how we create and operate. In other words we truly are two sisters, biologically, philosophically and creatively, and that is what Sorelle stands for.

‘The soul of our company is our family relationships, which help ground us in business to create strong relationships with our suppliers, retailers and customers. We use these relationships to help make Sorelle products outstanding in the footwear fashion industry.

 

 


 

Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.

 

 

 

 

 

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