Interviewed and written by Maija Ehlinger
Cobbler Union’s founder Daniel Porcelli sat down with The Urban Realist to talk about luxury, personal style, and being a menswear entrepreneur in the digital age.
When you first lay eyes on a pair of Cobbler Union shoes, it is easy to spot quality. From their modern spin on a classic Derby to the sophisticated edge of their boot collection, there is a timelessness to each shoe that makes them look as much like art as they do well constructed pieces of men’s footwear.
But once you start talking to company founder Daniel Porcelli – an Atlanta-based consultant turned entrepreneur – it is easy to see that it is more than the quality of Cobbler Union shoes that puts this company a cut above the rest. As Porcelli grows Cobbler Union into a new type of modern menswear brand, he is transforming how men connect with European luxury.
When Cobbler Union started about a year ago, Argentinian born Porcelli believed it was the right time to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his passion for menswear. By partnering a direct-to-consumer business model with a fresh take on traditional style, Cobbler Union is now able to deliver the luxury handcrafted masterpieces of Spanish shoe makers to a new generation of self-aware men.
Luxury normally “indicates something pretentious” and “thrives off the illusion of inclusivity,” said Porcelli at his Atlanta office. But luxury is actually “very human,” as it involves intimately designing and stitching together one-of-a-kind pieces.
And this is exactly the part of luxury Cobbler Union wants men to focus on.
Porcelli and Cobbler Union believe that “the most exciting (part of shoemaking) happens at the workshop,” a point lost when the focus is on brand name stores that sell high-priced shoes. Cobbler Union highlights that the story of each shoe begins in Spain with a group of artisans who use traditional bespoke techniques to handcraft modern footwear.
But the story continues as Cobbler Union celebrates the art of shoemaking as well as the men who live life in these shoes. Whether someone is looking for a custom pair of Oxfords for work or swoon worthy loafers for a casual night out, each customer is welcomed ‘into the union’ – and distinct group of men who believe in attainable personal style, self-expression and a new definition of luxury.
In the evolving world of e-commerce, it is refreshing to see a company that is upfront about its vision and point of view. Traditionally, access to quality European shoes was out of reach for many men. But with prices that are often half of what competitors’ lines go for in stores, Cobbler Union proves that luxury is not tapped exclusively for special occasions. Their social media sites connect all men involved in the union by engaging with customers, detailing the intensely creative process of shoemaking, and showcasing that Cobbler Union shoes are ready of travel, work and play.
While growing a community of dedicated members online, Porcelli knows the importance of capitalizing on Cobbler Union’s Atlanta roots and the city’s budding entrepreneurial arena. “Atlanta is young and happening now,” says Porcelli, making it the perfect place for this Barcelona shoe company to start off in the United States. But this young company is already expanding into fashion hubs like New York and beyond. By breaking down the proverbial ‘fashion rules’ about exclusive luxury, Cobbler Union is poised to be a staple in the menswear industry as a brand that brings traditional European style to 21st-century men.
Shop Cobbler Union’s collection and update your summer style at: http://www.cobbler-union.com.
And of course, get social and connect with them on Instagram and Twitter @cobblerunion