This Local Bespoke Brand Creates Handcrafted “Men’s Shoes” For Ladies
Gone are the days when women are expected to wear only corsets, underskirts, and sky-high heels. Thanks to fashion icons like Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, and Yves Saint Laurent, androgynous fashion rose to popularity, giving birth to menswear-inspired styling and unisex clothing. Today, women can don more comfortable wardrobe pieces without sacrificing elegance.
Enter Marquina Shoemaker, a rising homegrown bespoke brand renowned for its custom leather pieces. Originally a menswear label, Marquina recently launched its first women’s collection late last year, receiving acclaim for its leather oxfords and loafers designed specially for women.
“Certain women want a more ‘masculine’ yet sophisticated look,” shares Patrick Kahn, one of the three founders of Marquina. “It’s a matter of taking that ‘men’s’ design and making it more suitable for women.”
Aside from being ultra stylish, we love their loafers’ functionality. Featuring a chic and innovative design, women can convert these loafers into slides by simply folding down the shoe’s collapsible back and stepping on it. Yes, it’s time to say goodbye to loafers-induced blisters, ladies!
In an exclusive interview with Metro.Style, the founders of Marquina Shoemaker talk about their inspiration, as well as their trend predictions for 2018.
Metro.Style: Describe your brand’s aesthetic.
Marquina Shoemaker: When people think of leather shoes, they think of formal pieces like oxfords and cap toes. While we do sell shoes like those, the style we are trying to go for is more casual. We are inspired by fresher colors and by younger folks who are looking for pieces that are casual but are of better quality.
We don’t just use normal blacks and burgundys, we also incorporate yellow, blush pink, and blue, fitting into a more modern style. We also feel that this is a step to developing Marikina more—if you look at Marikina, the craftsmanship is fantastic, but being relevant is also important. That’s why we brought this [modern] look into our brand.
MS: Aside from the usual oxfords and brogues, what does Marquina offer men and women?
Marquina Shoemaker: We have the standard shoes like oxfords, brogues, and loafers, but we also have modern styles. For women, we have classic styles that we modernized a bit—we have collapsible loafers, which you can step on at the back, and we also have backless mules. A lot of our clients are also looking for monk straps for women. For men, we have chukka boots and work boots for a more casual look.
MS: Why leather?
Marquina Shoemaker: When you think about quality shoes, it’s two things—the construction and the material. We really feel that choosing leather is the best way to highlight both our designs and the intricate craftsmanship in Marikina. At the same time, we feel that this is something we will be able to launch globally. When we look at the market, we see expensive brands that quadruple their prices, supposedly because they have good quality leather. For Marquina, we help our clients economize—it doesn’t have to be that expensive! We create good quality leather shoes that bring a great value for money.
MS: What sizes are available?
Marquina Shoemaker: For women, US size 5 to 13. For men, US size 6 to 14.
MS: How do we purchase a pair? How long does it take to have it made?
Marquina Shoemaker: Everything is made to order. You can place an order on marquinashoemaker.com, but at the same time, we have a physical store where customers can drop by if they want to see the shoes in person. We help you pick out your shoes, get your size, and have them made and shipped to you in 2-3 weeks.
MS: Since all your shoes are made-to-order, can we ask Marquina to create a customized pair with our own design?
Marquina Shoemaker: If the customer wants something very specific, yes, we can do it!
What’s interesting is that our collapsible loafers were actually a request from a previous client. When we shared it on Instagram Stories, people kept messaging us about those particular shoes!
When a client wants something customized, we talk with them to decide what materials to use and what the cost would be. Normally, if it’s something we already have a last shape for, and if we’re using the same quality of leather, and it’s just a matter of changing the pattern, we usually add PHP 2,000-3,000 to our usual price point. For example, our women’s shoes cost PHP 5,000, so having a custom one made would range from 7,000-8,000.
MS: What leather trends do you predict will be big in 2018?
Marquina Shoemaker: Leathers come in a lot of blacks, browns, and tans. That’s it. But we really feel like we’re going to see a lot more colors this year. We’ve been experimenting with pink and yellow leathers, and those really flew! We feel the market is going to be more open to having leathers in new colors and materials, since people today are more willing to be more expressive and experimental with their style.
We also see the pastel trend in clothes and bags, and the 90s look is coming back, so we’re also going to see suedes in brighter colors.
Photos from @marquinashoemaker on Instagram