As a part of the fashion portion of this Made In Italy trip we visited Olivia Monteforte’s leather shop in Pesaro. We were greeted by a cheerful and stylish Olivia and a room full of colorful leather goods. My group sat down and listened as Olivia shared with us her life story and the process of making leather shoes.
Olivia studied philosophy in Urbino, a hilly city with cobblestone streets. With my experience studying in Urbino I can attest that the terrain can be tiresome at times. Olivia noticed this too and decided that she needed a better shoe to wear while walking around. So that’s exactly what she did… she made her own. Olivia has only been in this industry for 10 years which is amazing considering her skill level and success.
She walked us through the process of making one her custom made shoes. She has two lines; one starts at around 350 euros and is made from a premed mold and the customer can choose the colors and fabrics, the other is completely custom made. The completely custom line starts with an informal interview with the customer so that Olivia can put their personality into the shoe. She chooses the leather, makes the foot molds, stitches, adds the sole and the heel are herself.
Since my group did not have 10 years of experience under our belts we made well…. belts! After choosing our belt buckle we all split off into little groups and were assigned specific tasks. The first group cut the leather strips, the second made the loops, a third created the holes to insert the metal buckles. We watched Olivia carefully to learn how to stitch our buckles to the belts. Most of us chose blue thread to stitch our belts because that was the color of her logo. Finally, she gave us the option to etch our names on the inside of the belt.
It was amazing to see that Olivia was not only the shoe designer but the purchaser of materials, the worker, the cashier… the everything! That one small shop took a piece of leather and transformed it into a fashion statement.
Below is a video made by Olivia’s colleague of my group creating the belts!