There’s a new men’s shoe line being advertised as the “Don’t ask– Don’t tell” of military style shoes. But tell we must!
The Roberto Vasi line began as a business partnership formed in a class taught by Accessories Design Professor Vasilios Christofilakos 20+ years ago.
“My God we had fun!” Vasilios recalls of the sketching accessories class (LD261) that Robert Mingione attended. “He had left Bally’s footwear and was seeking more know-how. He was putting together a portfolio for a position at Kenneth Cole. I asked him to develop a men’s line. It was fun and passionate. He got the job. He comes from the business end of the spectrum. He was business-MBA with a creative edge.”
The Vasilios–Mingione partnership has yielded the “military-meets-luxury” line of 75 styles. “We’re honing in, replicating some of the sharp tailoring military uniforms offer,” says Vasilios. Styles include casual, dress, athletic and fusion, and a “fabulous boot collection.”
The line’s rugged masculinity is enhanced by daring combinations of materials and design techniques. “There are leathers with suede and nylons, hardware and decorative stitching, embossed patterns, men’s suiting fabrics, herring bone and hounds-tooth patterns, as well as stripes and plaids for the linings.”
The line debuted at the FN Platform shoe show in Las Vegas in February and will be on shelves at DSW and at Nordstrom.com this fall.
- After studying with Vasilios, Mingione often took on FIT students as interns. “Many became successful footwear designers,” said Mingione. “I love the creativity and passion that comes from FIT students. Young designers benefit by getting to see their work come to life. “
Now Vasilios and Mingione have to contend with the “other side of the business.” says Vasilios. “The logistists, all the little things you deal with regarding the business of shoes. Shipping — What happens when it lands in port? How do you get it to the corporate office or warehouse and how do they get it to the retailers? There’s the independent retailers. You’ve got 90 days to pay the bills. You make cold calls to buyers and hope they show up: ‘We just made it to Vegas. Hope to see you soon.’ Then you hope they meet with you once you’re back in New York.”
Says Vasilios “It’s all about the relationships you make and nurture.”