Since launching Aquazzura in Italy in 2011, founder Edgardo Osorio has attracted a loyal following — and heavy hitters such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus International and Dubai’s Level Shoes have taken notice.
Speaking to Footwear News on Friday in New York City at an appearance at Bergdorf Goodman, the designer recalled when he was 25 years old — before the label became a global hit.
“I was starting the company — going around to factories in Italy, going everywhere,” the 30-year-old shared. “Just looking for the best leathers and best things, and just being true. It was a moment where I was working on things I loved, and what the collection meant was a reflection of myself and what I want women to wear.”
Drawing from his own experience, Osorio shared advice for budding designers.
“If you’re coming out of design school, you need to work for a lot of people before doing your own brand,” he said. “I think you need to learn from other people’s mistakes, and you need the experience — especially in shoes — you need a lot of experience, so you should start as young as you can and work for as many people as you can before branching out on your own.”
“My second bit of advice is to believe in your dreams because anything is possible,” he continued. “Find your vision, find your voice, find what you love and do it — believe in it. This is a labor of love. What we do is about passion. It sounds clichéed, but that’s what it is. I’m living proof that you can do it. In five years, we created something incredible that I never would’ve imagined. Coming from Colombia, of all places, and going to Italy and starting a company in a country that is not mine and having no relationships.”