The Beginning…

When I think of holidays, I dream of cities. Not one for lying on the beach, my version of a relaxing trip consists of waking at dawn, finding a gorgeous breakfast spot and the perfect coffee, then eagerly starting the day before the sun has even had the chance to warm up the pavements.  I am, what you would call, an annoying morning person.

I love to walk. Pulling on my comfy, well-worn sneakers and exploring while I watch a city come alive never fails to delight.  It both energises and calms me in a way that only travel seems to do.  I can easily spend hours meandering down every cobbled street, alleyway and boulevard a city has to offer.

Therein lies the problem. As afternoon turns to evening, the cafes, restaurants and bars come to life. It’s a chance to enjoy another side of a city in the hours after twilight. I prefer to head straight out to save time, however, I consistently feel less than stylish when propping up a cocktail bar in my chunky gym sneakers.

An idea started to form – where could I find a luxe pair of sneakers, comfortable enough to explore all day, but stylish enough to wear out in the evenings?

There are so many stunning brands making premium sneakers, yet nothing on the market quite ticked all the boxes for me. I wanted something a little retro, made from soft, high-quality leather but which also offered amazing comfort and durability. Elegant and chic, I wanted them to be paired easily with multiple outfits making packing less of a struggle.  I was seeking affordable luxury, made from the best materials but at a reasonable price-point. Finding myself inspired, I decided to take the leap and create my own brand.

Making it Happen

I’m a born researcher, and before long I had joined forces with a footwear designer who helped me turn my vision into reality. There was a lot to learn in terms of construction, production standards and manufacturing tolerances, but the production of sneakers – for independent brands at least – is a beautifully manual process. It’s a case of putting pencil to paper and working with a pattern maker to create your first prototypes. No CAD or 3D models here, just talented craftsmen cutting materials by hand.

It became clear early on that Portugal was where I wanted Aerska to be manufactured. I place so much importance on ensuring our materials are ethically sourced, that we have a transparent supply chain and that production is to the highest possible standard. With a rich heritage in shoe production, Portugal made complete sense.

The most exciting part, of course, was the prototyping stage. It took several rounds to get the London, our first collection, just so; little details of the design that we tweaked, playing with material choices and colours, lace details and finishing. I’ve never experienced anything quite like watching an idea from my head take shape, in reality, the way these sneakers have.

All our materials are sourced from Italy, Spain and Portugal and the sneakers themselves are hand made, in very small batches, by a core team of experts. Before long I was flying out to Portugal for the initial meeting with my manufacturing partner who would be producing my first samples. I’ve chosen an independent factory that specialises in sneakers, and whose team are held in high regard for the level of attention, quality and finish to their products. I’m beyond happy with their workmanship and I’m sure you will be too.

And here I am, on the verge of launching our first collection. I hope you love them just as much as I do.

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