Men’s luxury sneaker brand Nera is hosting its first-ever retail pop-up activation in New York this weekend, as the brand marks a new milestone in its growth.
Started four years ago by two friends James Yip and Lucas DiPietrantonio, the footwear brand officially launched to consumers on its e-commerce site in April 2021 after years of sourcing and development.
The entire process of creating a pair of Neras, from the design to the production phases of mold-making, sourcing, stitching, and final assembly, are performed within the Italian region of Abruzzo. Each sneaker uses a curation of colors, components, and forms that pay homage to notable moments across art, architecture, and style. Its most recent launch, the Arco sneaker, is inspired by the famous Arco lamp designed in 1962 by Achille Castiglioni, together with his brother Pier Giacomo. Styles retail between $200 and $275.
Now, the duo — along with creative director Stefano Jacobson, who joined the company in July — is setting up shop for Nera’s first physical retail presence. Located at 21 Spring St. in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, the “Nera Mercato” pop-up was designed by Alimentari Flâneur. Inspired by the local markets of Florence, the shop will remain open through Sunday, June 12.
And, according to DiPietrantonio, the shop will continue to pop-up in different cities throughout the summer. “I’d definitely love to see this market Mercato concept in the Hamptons this summer and in other similar cities as we look to continue to communicate the quality of our made-in-Italy product in-person,” DiPietrantonio told FN.
Asked whether the brand will have other physical retail presence this year, DiPietrantonio maintained that Nera is still direct-to-consumer, but he is open to partnering with strategic retail partners down the road.
“My background is in direct-to-consumer and e-commerce, and that’s where I feel the most comfortable,” said DiPietrantonio. “For the right touchpoints, for sure, wholesale would be great. We just want to keep the brand exclusive since we only manufacture a few hundred units per style and colorway.”
Jacobson added, “For us, we consider ourselves a streetwear company. So we would want to partner with higher-end streetwear retailers.”
Looking ahead, the Nera team is focused on continuing to “get the word out” about the brand, as well as expanding its selection. “Yes, we are working on new products,” said DiPietrantonio. “We are thinking of doing other items outside of footwear, but it has to follow the same ‘designed to last’ mantra we keep now. But mainly we are looking to leverage this new in-person touchpoint we have with this Mercato pop-up design to get our message out. We are also launching a massive media campaign this weekend, which will continue to run after the pop-up, as we look to create more activations where our customers are and where our brand needs to stay relevant.”