Seven years ago a pair of shoes changed Roger Amigó’s life. It happened suddenly, he did not expect it at all. At the very moment he found them he decided to bring those shoes to Barcelona; he wanted to show them to the world, and he wanted to sell them as well, of course. Why? In first place, because he liked them very much; and secondly, because he had always dreamed of having a shoe store.
Today Nu Sabates is one of the points of sale in Europe for Cydwoq, a sustainable brand created by an Armenian family emigrated to the United States of America. Rafi Balouzian and his son Ari design the shoes and make them reality in their workshop, which is based in California. They are sustainable craft shoes. Roger is learning the technique, although he is not going to make the same shoes he sells in his boutique, which is placed in Born district (Barcelona).
Your life story is linked to New York City and to Cydwoq shoes brand. Was it love at first sight?
Yes, it was certainly love at first sight. I saw the shoes for the first time in New York, while walking about Nolita, in a small shop in Mullberry Street. The idea of having my own shoe store had been into my head since I was young, and by those days (seven years ago) that idea was strong again. And then I providentially came accross the shoes I had been always looking for.
‘Old World Craftmanship for Modern Feet’. That is the brand’s claim. What techniques and raw materials are used to make Cydwoq shoes?
The leathers that are used to make the soles and the tops of Cydwoq shoes come from green tanning, mainly from the the area of Tuscany (Italy), where there is a large industry of green tanners and higher finishes are achieved. The shoes’ production technique is completely manual and absolutely respectful with the environment. Only green tanning leathers, biodegradable glues and wood are used, chemical products are simply rejected.
Is Nu Sabates, the boutique in Born district (Barcelona), one of the few places where those shoes can be found in Europe?
Yes, Cydwoq has a small production; no more than fifteen people make the shoes in their workshop in Burbank (Los Angeles-CA). The family company started twenty years ago and it had an organic growth. It is still a family business: the father designs and directs the production, the son is also a designer and runs the communication, and the mother is in charge of the management. It is still an unknown brand, a treasure to be discovered!
Lately you also sell the Italian brand De Valerio and the Catalan brand Deux Solieurs. How do you select the shoes you want to sell at Nu Sabates?
Our main premise is we have to love the shoes we sell. Secondly, they have to be good shoes, which means they have to be handmade shoes. That gives them a high quality production process. The leathers used have to be green tanning and to have good quality, and of course they have to be comfortable shoes. When we opened the boutique only Cydwoq shoes were sold; with Deux Souliers we added local production shoes, and De Valerio shoes arrived to Nu Sabates by chance: the shoemaker’s son, Paolo, who is a crazy tattoo artist, fell in love with our store during one of his visits to Barcelona and proposed us to sell the handmade shoes and boots made by his father Valerius in a small workshop in Padua. They are awesome. We also sell beautiful leather bags designed and sewed by Àngela Martí. She creates delicious lifelong bags to be left as precious legacies.
Would you say that handmade sustainable shoes are more hard-wearing ?
Of course, handmade shoes using good green tanned leather last much longer, they are also more comfortable and they acquire character when getting old. And, in case the sole gets worn out, or unstitched, or whatever, a good shoemaker will always leave them as good as new.
What kind of people buy their shoes at Nu Sabates?
Our shoes are different. Their out of the ordinary design gives them a timeless touch and a very well defined character. We use to say that our shoes are for people who really love shoes. We have also found that, in many cases, our clients are people with creative or artistic jobs, what makes them connect with the creative design of our shoes.
These shoes changed you life. Do you see yourself closely bound to each other forever?
I guess so. There is one thing I have no doubt about: I will never stop looking at people’s feet.