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Labels to Watch: The return of footwear

By Barbara Russ

Jul. 13, 2021


Alessandra Balbi

Shoes, what a concept, after a year of barefooted work from home! They come in all shapes and forms, even with heels, who would have guessed? All jokes aside, the world seems ready to put shoes on again - or, in Paolo Nutini's legendary words: "Hey, I put some new shoes on, and suddenly everything is right". FashionUnited has gathered a selection of shoes to stock for the revival of dressing up that will surely make everything - or at least some things - right.

Alessandra Balbi

Alessandra Balbi is a Milan-based independent luxury footwear brand, founded in 2017 by the designer Alessandra Balbi, who has a degree in architecture from Milan Polytechnic and one in economics from the University of Siena. She studied footwear design at London Fashion College and worked as a designer and interior architect for several years, for Giorgio Armani among others. Alessandra Balbi decided to launch her eponymous luxury footwear brand and channel her background into a product that reflects the most feminine and most authentic parts of herself. The shoes draw from her previous experience and are handcrafted in the Veneto region. Sustainability plays a big role in the company’s values: "We firmly believe that the fashion industry can no longer ignore to have a sustainable approach towards the environment“, says Alessandra Balbi. "Creating products that can last over time for high quality and timeless design can be a first step of a responsible approach.“

Stockists: The brand has its own online shop and aims to enter international selected multi-brand retailers.

Price point: High heels are around 500 euros, boots around 730 euros.

Contact: There is a contact form on the website of the label.



Marsèll was founded in 2001. Every piece is handmade by expert men and women at the Marsèll workshop in the Riviera del Brenta Area, near Venice, Italy. Knowledge and creativity are central to the brand’s values and Marsèll has actively supported young artists since it was established, through Marsèlleria, a multidisciplinary exhibition space that has a core role within the brand communication strategy. For over a decade, the non-profit project has produced exhibitions, performances, and different art ventures, honouring the utmost freedom of expression in its authenticity. Marsèll Shoes are the focus of a line of research devoted to pushing the boundaries of tradition, within the counterculture deconstruction movement.

Stockists: Andreas Murkudis and Lodenfrey in Germany. Online through their website and Farfetch.

Price Point: Sandals around 500 euros, boots 800 - 1000 euros.

Contact: Direct email.



The American shoe brand College Moccasin was founded in the 1940s, and celebrates a revival in the 2020s thanks to Luca Baldan, who is infusing the heritage brand with new street cool. The iconic X across the shoes upper makes it instantly recognizable. Entirely ‘Made in Italy’, College loafers are an artisan product, going through many handcrafted stages, such as their patiently hand-stitched seams and knotting. The upper is hand-painted once the shoe is finished, every ‘X’ is unique with its own small differences when compared to the others. The sole is made of leather with the exclusive ‘X’ injected in rubber for a better grip and sewn with a Blake stitch. "More than a classic, we think of them as something that never ages. Elegant and fun, the opportunities to wear them are lifelong,“ says the brand in a statement.

Price points: Mens and womens loafers 'made in Italy‘ retail between 290 and 370 euro.

Stockists: College is sold via Ciolina und Farfetch.

Contact: College is represented by Agentur Ventrella in Germany, or get in touch via direct email.

This article was translated from German