Since its inception in 2014, ALEPEL has been “creating statement shoes for the women who appreciates art, uniqueness and design as self-differentiation.” Fine craftsmanship, structured silhouettes and hand-painted designs are some characteristics that make ALEPEL stand out from so many other accessory brands in the market.
For Adriana Epelboim-Levy, footwear is one of the biggest forms of self-expression. “Shoes and accessories accentuate everyday outfits to make a statement. They are a reflection of your personality,” the Venezulan entrepreneur told HOLA! USA. Taking inspiration from her educational background, along with her curiosity with shoe design, Adriana was inspired to create ALEPEL. “While working on my architecture degree from Pratt Institute in New York City, I was intrigued to intersect art, and fashion into product of any scale. This concept led to the application of architectural and artistic skills into accessory designs.”
Read on as Adriana sheds some light on how she works with local artist and gives us insight on ALEPEL’s upcoming projects.
HOLA! USA: What inspired you to start ALEPEL?
Adriana Epelboim-Levy: Fashion has always been a passion for me. Going to school in NYC allowed me to be close to the scene, assisting to Fashion Week Shows, being part of Photo Shoots, and working in retail, I had the opportunity to work in the industry since my creative beginnings. Before ALEPEL, I used to collect shoes with the most extraordinary shapes I could find, and I would still intervene them with unique applications.
You’ve been creating shoes since 2014! Can you remember the first pair you designed?
I designed a couple of pairs I used in my wedding. There was a local shoe maker where I lived that allowed me to design and create my own unique pairs based on what I envisioned. At that moment, I was in love with the designer’s work I could see on the runway. However, when shopping, I felt like it was challenging to find the level of creativity in the typical retail floor. All the assortments looked very standard and commercial to me. It was lacking personality.
For some people, shoes are just an ordinary accessory. What do they mean for you?
Shoes and accessories accentuate everyday outfits, to make a statement. They are a reflection of your personality. While clothes say everything about your individual style, accessories are the pieces that take personal style to the next level. They are conversation pieces.
In many ways, you're giving local artists a platform to display their artwork. Why was it important for you to provide a canvas for this talented individuals?
ALEPEL has created signature collections that incorporate the artistry and unique beauty of hand-crafting and hand-painting in every piece. Through ALEPEL, we aim to empower the artistic community. There is incredibly talented artists in every community, who not always get the opportunity to put to work their skills.
The hand paintings at ALEPEL are done by a curated group of local artists composed of men and women of different ages, nationalities, and interests, who connect through the passion for art. We believe in the celebration of art, and handmade. The shoes and accessories are just a canvas to endless possibilities. Wearing a hand painted product means you are also wearing something one-of-a-kind.
In a world of massive consumption and fast fashion, I felt there was a necessity to reinvent the wheel with a slow fashion, handmade model that involved fair work and conscious processes.
Who would you love to see rocking your shoes?
Not only does ALEPEL paint beautiful and intricate pieces on footwear, the brand recently expanded to handbags! What's next for ALEPEL?
As the brand evolves we are adding new constructions, slowly. We want to make sure all constructions are of the highest quality, so a lot of care and consideration goes into developing new styles/pieces for ALEPEL. We aim to offer constructions that are basic and easy to wear. Each ALEPEL piece serves as a canvas on which anything is possible.
At HOLA! USA, we believe in highlighting fashion brands, designers, and creatives who are breaking boundaries in the fashion industry. Within the weekly segment of #HolaCouture we’re spotlighting Latinx talent and entrepreneurs who are firm believers that their Hispanic roots and culture are worthy of being shared with the world through fashion and style. Not only are we highlighting their unique and artistic skills, but we're also continuing their conversations.