When it comes to buying leather goods, we’re often drawn to international brands with European heritage. But with a new breed of local shoemakers emerging, there are good reasons to look closer to home. And while some brands work with factories in Italy, Spain and Portugal to produce their collections, there’s a distinctly Aussie stamp on each pair. If you’re looking to leave a lighter footprint on the planet, a conscious approach to more sustainable manufacturing and growth in leather alternatives has opened up more options than ever.
Melbourne brand Nelson Made delivers modern minimalism with a feminine twist. Handcrafted in small quantities, these are the types of shoes you could have in your wardrobe forever. Signature styles include the Juliette Midi heel, Raul fisherman sandal and Sophie point-toe boot. The brand follows a low-impact approach to design, using recycled and chrome-free leathers, as well as deadstock fabrics throughout the collection.
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Sydney brand Edie Collective launched late last year with a considered range of vegan leather shoes. The Amanda heel is the sort of sleek strappy sandal that works with jeans, tailoring and dresses alike. The Jane loafer and Original boot are further examples of the label’s refined yet functional appeal.
Post Sole Studio
Post Sole Studio was born from a love of shoemaking and a desire to keep the local industry alive. There is a timelessness to the brand’s styles, which are made-to-order in its Abbotsford studio, using deadstock leathers where possible. The Channel Mary Janes are a consistent bestseller. But the olive green Summer Lane block heels and Trail Hiker sandals are set to become favourites as the weather warms.
Founded in 2013, Dof Studios’ shoes are designed in Melbourne and made in Italy. There is a nostalgic vibe to the collections, which include woven leather loafers, chunky sneakers and playful slides.
Founded in 2016 as a response to overproduction, Essen is an Australian brand with a footprint in Europe. Founder Marre Muijs collaborates with family-run factories in Italy, Spain and Portugal to produce the collections; on the product pages she maps the journey each pair goes through to get to your feet. Key summer styles include the Sport sandal and Poolslide, which is a limited edition design. A recent collaboration with Kiwi brand Maggie Marilyn brings a new twist to Essen’s signature Foundation Flat.
There is a rock’n’roll edge to Noskin’s unisex vegan leather range. Core styles include iconic Chelsea and combat boots, as well as derby shoes and loafers in black and brown colourways. The limited edition Midnight collection brings a ’60s vibe with its high-shine patent finishes.
Rollie might be best known for its playful derby shoes and functional sneakers, but the Melbourne brand has recently released a collection of cactus leather boots, shoes and slides that make conscious yet comfortable additions to your shoedrobe. Soft to touch, the durable designs are centred on function, with orthotic-friendly soles and grip rubber finishes.
Australian sisters Jess and Stef Dadon launched Twoobs in 2016 as an alternative to the impractical footwear common in the women’s fashion industry. The label’s comfy, lightweight velcro sandals have since become a fixture on Australian streets, in a riot of bright colours. This winter the brand introduced Bwoots, a weather-proof solution in a Chelsea-inspired silhouette. You can also do your bit for the planet by taking advantage of the brand’s buy-back program. Trade in your pre-loved Twoobs sandals, which the brand promises to recycle and repurpose on your behalf, in exchange for $10 credit towards your next purchase.
A Emery creates timeless footwear designs to carry you through the seasons. Anna McLaren launched the brand in 2017 to fill a gap in the market for the perfect pair of minimal, all-black sandals, with the company expanding to create a variety of simplistic styles in neutral tones since. Handmade in India, care and attention to detail is evident in signature designs: the Jalen, Nolan and Carter sandals return season after season.
Walking the line between timeless and trending with its capsule wardrobe approach, it’s no surprise that Assembly Label has a footwear collection to cover all occasions. The range is a small yet inclusive collection of shoes: think boots, sandals, mules and loafers with a sleek and modern feel.
St Agni’s footwear range oozes minimalist, contemporary cool. From sleek heels to signature flatforms and macrame slides, there’s no shortage of stylish choices. Wear with the Byron Bay-based brand’s elegant essentials for work and weekends alike.
Statement shoe and handbag brand LMS mixes classic styles with unconventional materials and patterns to create a joyous mix of bold designs. Red terry towel flatforms, fluffy green hiking sandals and raffia-effect pumps are some of this season’s highlights.
Known for its dedicated approach to craftsmanship, RM Williams is a true blue favourite. Styles like the Lady Yearling, Millicent and Adelaide boots come in a variety of finishes, which can be tailored to your needs and wants. Each pair is made by hand in the brand’s Adelaide factory. These boots have come a long way from outback origins and are a firm favourite in urban environments.
Senso was founded in the ’80s by husband-and-wife team, Kim and Scarlett Meller. When the couple’s three daughters joined the business in 2010, the brand was jolted into the social spotlight thanks to a youthful new direction. Trending kitten heels, comfort-boasting slides and contemporary ballet flats are the styles to add to cart this season.
Camilla and Marc
Camilla and Marc’s shoe collection mimics the vibe of the brand’s ready-to-wear range: elevated, modern classics with the occasional twist. From fur-lined slides and white croc-embossed knee-high boots to utility boots and sleek loafers, these pieces take you anywhere.
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