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Step up your shoe game. Invest in these cool, under-the-radar footwear labels

Needles and pencils are out, blacks and beiges are no longer trending, and geometric heels are a la mode. This season is all about moving beyond the time-tested classics, and to that effect, there is a breed of new-age shoe brands that’s upping the ante on cool footwear. We checked them out so you know what to invest in next.

ATP Atelier 

Image: Courtesy Instagram

A leather goods label based out of Stockholm, ATP Atelier finds its essence in footwear that exhibits clean minimal Scandinavian silhouettes and Italian craftsmanship. In 2015, when friends Maj-La Pizzelli and Jonas Clason launched the brand, the idea was to unveil a boutique that catered to furniture and home fragrances, but leather goods soon became a natural extension of the brand. Today, ATP Atelier footwear fits into the vocabulary of the sophisticate, with its understated, refined designs. Even better, the brand is big on sustainability, with most of their shoes being made in Tuscan vegetable tanned leather. 

We love: Abra Brunello Slingbacks and Mei Confetti Ankle Boots 

Stockists: Browns and Harvey Nichols (London); E- stockists: Harvey Nichols, Moda Operandi 

Gray Matters 

Image: Courtesy Instagram

Shoes as sculptures seems to be the mantra of New York-based label Gray Matters. Founded by designer Silvia Avanzi in 2015, every piece from this brand stands at the intersection of art and fashion. Think V-shaped, low, egg mules in white or slingbacks in colour-blocked plum nappa leather with pink inner suede lining. Every piece features an interesting colourway, a refined silhouette, and textural play. Avanzi was highly influenced by the artistic and architectural heritage of her native Italy, and took cues on form and function from New York City, where she currently lives. What’s even cooler is that every shoe is carved by three generations of expert shoemakers near Venice, ensuring that artisanal details speak for themselves. 

We love: Dot Pumps Nero Tangerette and Mildred Mules Bianco 

Stockists: Dover Street Market (London), Galeries Lafayette – Champs-Elysées (Paris); E- stockists: Farfetch and Matches Fashion 

Yuul Yie 

Image: Courtesy Instagram

This South Korean footwear brand is known for its easy-chic, art-inspired designs. Think pearl-and-rhinestone embellishments on heels. Launched by designer Sunyuul Yie in 2010,  it has been a favourite of fashion insiders for a while now. Often inspired by the works of French-German sculptor Jean Arp, Yie’s pieces stand out in a clutter of accessories owing to their millennial appeal. Made with the highest quality calf leather, every piece is manufactured in South Korea, including its hardware. We love the mules embellished with metal and casual pumps with architectural heels. 

We love: Caillou Slipper and Zizi Sling-backs

Stockists: Dover Street Market and Browns (London); E- stockists: Harvey Nichols, Farfetch

By Far 

Image: Courtesy Instagram

Launched in 2015, By Far is the brainchild of sisters Valentina Bezuhanova and Sabina Gyosheva, and their best friend Denitsa Bumbarova. Every shoe by the label exudes 90s minimalism with a pinch of fun. Crafted in the finest material ensuring outstanding quality and comfort, one can choose from low-heeled mules and ballet pumps in khaki, red, navy, and blush to sandals in lilac, deep green, and red. 

We love: By Far mules in Emma nude leather and By Far boots in blue zebra print pony hair leather 

Stockists: Selfridges and Browns; E-stockists: Net-a-porter and Moda Operandi 

Amina Muaddi 

Image: Courtesy Instagram

If you follow international fashion, you would know Amina Muaddi, a street style influencer you’ve probably noticed in Calvin Klein overcoats and Gucci dresses. She also designs some of the coolest party heels. Her multicultural upbringing between Jordan, Romania, and Italy set the base for her artistic influences. After having worked as a stylist at leading fashion glossies, Muaddi founder her calling in creating shoes. Launched in 2018, her eponymous shoe label is a perfect blend of effortless glamour and impeccable craftsmanship. She honed her skills at Riviera del Brenta, Italy’s storied shoe-making district, and for her debut collection collaborated with French couturier Alexandre Vauthier. Since then, she has made sleek her signature, with her recognizable geometric heel lending a distinctive touch to her styles. 

We love: Mia Boot in bronze satin and Holli sling lime hologram 

Stockists: Harrods and Browns (London); E-stockists: Net A porter and Moda Operandi

Step up your shoe game. Invest in these cool, under-the-radar footwear labels

Anupam Dabral

Sr. Associate Editor

It was while studying fashion journalism at London College of Fashion that Anupam developed a keen interest in the anthropological aspect of the discipline; for him, fashion only makes sense when seen in the context of its environment. He is always on the hunt for great stories, and in his spare time binge-watches films/shows starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

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