Going with big steps
From a small shoe factory in a garage to Latin America’s biggest retail brand of women’s fashion footwear – what has started as a local business in Belo Horizonte, southern Brazil, has turned into a global empire of success
„A woman with good shoes is never ugly!“ That is what Coco Chanel used to say almost a century ago. And apparently, this quote does not only contain grains of truth but also proofs itself to be the perfect recipe for the art of shoemaking. Simple and plain. That is why a Brazilian shoe executive became popular worldwide. His high heel designs dispense contemporary yet understated elegance. We are talking about no less than Alexandre Birman – with an international client list that reaches from Gisele Bündchen to Meryl Streep. This year, Alexandre Birman, as one of the most prestigious shoemakers in the world of high-fashion, celebrates the ten year anniversary of his luxurious line. A perfect occasion to have a little chat with him.
What does Alexandre Birman stands for?
Timeless aesthetic, craftsmanship and premium quality luxury.
How do you envision the Alexandre Birman woman to be and what does she favor?
The Alexandre Birman woman is modern, highly sophisticated, and values the exclusivity as well as luxurious design. I envision her as a woman who pays attention to her shoes so that they give her a boost of confidence and power. A woman who is wearing fashionable yet chic and timeless shoes in all settings of her life.
To what extent does your origin as a native Brazilian influence your brand? And conversely how Brazilian are your international customers?
Brazil is the country I was born in, so I am completely influenced by it. When I think of Brazil, I think of bright colors, keywords like energy, attitude and diversity come to my mind. Thus, I try to imbue my creations with these qualities. Actually, it emerges that it resonates well with customers nationally and internationally.
What attributes must a pair of shoes have in order to attract you personally?
Strong and timeless construction, exquisite material and a sensual shape.
Which shoe-style is your personal favorite on women and on men?
A good pair of loafers can always come in handy!
Considering that all big companies are producing sneakers at the moment, would you ever consider to manufacture sneakers for your brand?
I myself am a Triathlon athlete, so sneakers are big part of my lifestyle. We have some ideas in mind but we are still perfecting them to create the best product possible.
Will we expecting a launch of Alexandre Birman shoes for men?
My inspiration has always derived from strong, opinionated women. I cannot predict the future but that is not our focus right now.
How many shoes do you own yourself?
To many to count! (Laughs)
Has it always been your dream to continue your family’s enterprise and the tradition of shoemaking?
My friends and family always joke that my crib was a shoebox. In a sense, it’s true because I was born and raised in a shoe factory. My father founded the Arezzo&Co company in the Seventies and, since then, shoes have been a major part of my life. However, I also truly love shoes and the design process, so it is the perfect fit for me.
What would you like to accomplish in ten years from now?
I am still a dreamer, but I am lucky to say I have accomplished so many of my goals. I want to continue doing what I love. Being a father, an athlete and a shoemaker.