For Stephen Belieni Necessity Breeds Innovation

Necessity is the Mother of Invention, or so the old adage goes. Many great innovations develop out of lack in the market or out of some great need. And while this school of thought applies aptly to many great commercial products, rarely do people associate innovations in the fashion industry the result of need. This perspective could be further from the truth.

Coco Chanel’s initial claim to fame came from her unique understanding of the changing role of women and making corset-less garments that appealed to women, providing more freedom of movement. Christian Dior realized that the post-war woman was tired of boxy, dour clothes and wanted more glamour that flattered the feminine silhouette. And the founders of FUBU understood that as hip-hop culture was gaining popularity worldwide there was a need for clothes that reflected that culture on a mass scale.

Footwear designer Stephen Belieni is meeting such a demand in the fashion industry. “What attracted me to start my own brand, Belieni, was that I have large feet and I was frustrated with the lack of a nice sneaker that was in my size. Most of the more stylish sneakers that are for men with larger feet are from Europe, and more specifically from Spain, but they stop at about a size 13. With that in mind, the consumer is stuck with one, maybe two, of the major footwear brands, and most of those are more upscale and dressy, not casual street style sneaks. If you go outside of those limited options, you are going to pay upward of $1000,” explained Belieni.

That said; style at an affordable price is a tag line that lots of brands proffer; however, for Stephen Belieni’s Calibre V1 sneakers style and affordable are dead on with the truth being in the product. “Our price points are $450 for our smaller sized high tops that are for women and $575 for high tops for men. I want to stay competitive. Our consumer is looking quality materials and detailed stitching at a price point that is under a luxury price,” details Belieni.And when it comes to style, the Calibre V1 has a unique signature stamp that sets it a part from other sneaker brands. CalibreV1 is handcrafted in Italy by master artisans and features fine, hand-tanned Napa leather, sheep’s leather, and ethically sourced natural materials. “One thing that sets us a part is that we offer larger sizes. Also, we are staying with a clean classy look, very little embellishment or jewels and rhinestones that are trending right now, but may not have a lasting appeal. Our sneakers are timeless. We are not knocking off another footwear designers aesthetics, our design aesthetic is uniquely our own. Our DNA will be unique and not what everyone else is doing,” comments Belieni.

Additionally, you cannot go wrong when you name your sneaker brand after a Cartier watch. “I got the name from a type of Cartier watch. Some of the watches have a social and cultural movement around them. I love the details on those watches and I was inspired by those details that you will find evidenced in some of details of my Calibre V1 shoes, particularly the straps.”

Still, to survive in an over-saturated footwear market, a shoe brands needs something special. “What makes us unique from other shoe brands is the quilted aesthetic that is a part of our design DNA. It is an elegant look with the quilted, stitched patterns on the shoe that embodies luxury and excellence that can be noticed at a distance. If you have ever been in a luxury European sports car, you will find that some stitched, quilted accents can be found on the seat panels and dashboard. We want that same kind of elegance for the Calibre V1 sneaker,” continues Belieni.

                                            Images courtesy of The Anderson Group

And survive Belieni footwear will!! And the futuristic, paint-splashed, bespeckled design aesthetic on the soles of the sneaks demonstrates that Stephen Belieni is projecting market traction into the future. May the force be with you!!For more information, go to belieni.com.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

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