Oliberté, known for its footwear collection made in Ethiopia, is sharing the design stage this fall with footwear and apparel designer Mark McNairy.
In mid-August, the Mark McNairy Made in Africa by Oliberté collection will debut online at Oliberte.com. The series of three men’s styles, retailing from $175 to $195, feature comfortable stitch-down constructions and are interpreted in rugged suede.
In an exclusive interview with FN in June, McNairy, who also markets his own shoe collection under the Mark McNairy New Amsterdam label, talked about his classic approach to style. “Everything I do is a version of a classic,” he said. “I see myself as more of a maker than a designer, taking classic things I love and tweaking them.”
Also for fall, Oliberté is launching the Highlander series for men made of durable camel leather. According to the brand’s founder, Tal Dehtiar, the factory’s locale in Ethiopia served as inspiration for the collection since camels by nature survive in harsh conditions such as Sahara desert of the Ethiopian Highlands.
The six-pattern Highlander series, available at major retailers including Zappos.com, includes sneaker-influenced styles and combat boots. Set to hit stores in September, the line retails from $180 to $220.
For women, the brand is introducing two new wedge styles for fall — the Rhada, a high-top style, and the Volita, an ankle version.
Oliberté launched in 2009 by partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa. In 2012, the Canada-based company opened its own factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in 2013 it became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear factory by Fair Trade USA, a third-party certification organization. To be recognized, the company must meet standards for empowerment, economic development and environmental stewardship.
According to Oliberté, components used in its manufacturing are also sourced in Africa and include cow and goat leather from Ethiopia. Natural rubber for the outsoles comes from countries such as Liberia, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia. Even the rubber-making and sole mold equipment is sourced in South Africa.