George Esquivel and Jonathan Cohen’s New Handcrafted Shoes Are Like Art

Whatever side of the political aisle you’re on, bringing jobs back to the U.S. is something just about everyone can agree on. But these jobs don’t have to be in heavy-duty manufacturing — shoe production is gaining new momentum domestically.

While New England is historically associated with American shoe production, California has also been a footwear-making source. Today, the Los Angeles area boasts a range of small workshops that offer unique designer collections.

For fall ’17, California-based footwear designer George Esquivel and womenswear designer Jonathan Cohen have teamed up for the launch of a collection of women’s styles handcrafted in Esquivel’s Orange County workshop. Cohen’s inspiration comes from “Look at the Pictures,” a 2016 documentary about the life and work of legendary artist Robert Mapplethorpe, who’s seen in the film photographing socialite and designer Carolina Herrera.

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Designer George Esquivel creates artisan footwear in his California workshop.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

The collaboration puts the emphasis on exclusive fabrics, such as the brocades used in knee-high lace-up boots, and androgynous smoking slippers. “I love their craftsmanship. The designs are beautiful and fresh,” said Esquivel. “And they are great people. Working with the fabrics was fun and a challenge.” Already a fan is actress Laura Dern, who has a preproduction pair of boots. Retail prices range from $795 to $2,995. The shoes will be sold at A’maree’s in Newport Beach, Calif.

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Esquivel x Jonathan Cohen jacquard knee-high boot.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

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