ALEPEL is a contemporary collection of footwear launched in 2014 by founder and designer Adriana Epelboim-Levy. The brand finds a place in the footwear market where sleek modernity and creative artistry meet. ALEPEL’s classic fabrications and original designs create a result of premium-quality mixed with exceptional hand-painted details. The brand is built on versatility, offering a multiplicity styles that use the talents of artists and the inspiration of culture to adorn every pair. ALEPEL’s one-of-a-kind pieces are for the discerning customer who worships fashion, and, above all, self-expression through art. ALEPEL is a brand for women who embrace their footwear as wearable art.
Shop ALEPEL's products here.
Tell us about your creative process, from conception to final product.
Inspiration is everywhere, from nature to antiques. All the beautiful things around us that capture our attention are a source of inspiration to us. We illustrate the elements first by themselves and then we design the composition onto the shoes, as it is very different to design on a flat surface versus a shoe that not only is a three-dimensional surface but that also has some wear to consider.
After the design is completed, we create a sample with our artists. At this stage, each of them has the opportunity to input their creativity on to the piece and some changes may occur to the original design. Samples are reworked until the final pattern is approved. And once we have achieved the beautiful wearable artwork we were looking for, it is just a matter of replicating it on to all of the units as consistently as possible. Still, each piece will always be unique.
How does your company create social impact?
ALEPEL’s first hand-painted collection was the product of our need to help our native country, Venezuela. We developed a capsule collection that would reinterpret the national symbols onto footwear and we partnered with a local organization called FUNDANA, which fosters children.
For each sale of our products proceeds would be given directly to FUNDANA.
After that first capsule, we partnered with other organizations including Glam4Good during Breast Cancer Awareness month, La Casa del Niño (a pediatric hospital in Colombia) and Olivela an e-commerce website that supports women in developing countries. Each of these had their own special collaborations with unique motifs.
Tell us about an innovator or social enterprise in your country that you want others to know about.
An organization that has always been close to our hearts is FUNDANA, a non-profit institution that has been dedicated to the welfare of abandoned Venezuelan children for over 20 years.
FUNDANA gives shelter, attention and care to children up to 6 years old. These are children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected by their families. Since they opened the doors, they have attended to more 12,000 children, mostly in the capital of Caracas.
Currently with the economic and political situation, FUNDANA’s challenges have gotten steeper but their help is needed more than ever.
Who or what inspired you to start your company?
Our mission is to design for the women who embrace footwear as wearable art; for those women who worship fashion, but above all, self-expression.
I, as the designer, have always felt the need to create and wear things that are special, that have a real meaning behind their craftsmanship, their story and reason for being.
Who or what inspires your aesthetic?
My inspiration comes from the creative spirit within me, the celebration of art and fashion as one entity.
Having a plain canvas on which anything is possible, and to have the opportunity to innovate, merging expression and imagination.
A friend is taking a weekend trip to Venezuela. What should they do in 48 hours?
Venezuela is filled with interesting and beautiful places to visit, from the most stunning beaches to mountains and deserts.
If I would have to pick a place, I would suggest Los Roques Archipelago a serene, pristine conglomerate of islands that is secluded and just magnificent!
What is your most treasured accessory?
I have collected great pieces throughout the years, they are usually things that I find in flea markets during trips around the world.
They are all handcrafted by artisans and have become treasured accessories to me. They are pieces that I could never replace as they are so unique and hard to find.
I have this beautiful hand woven necklace from a fair in Seville, Spain; also an embroidered tunic from the Sunday Market in Antibes, France.
They not only capture the culture and a moment in history, but the creativity and uniqueness of the place that makes them so special.
What are your interests outside of fashion?
Art, architecture... I also love to dance!
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Don't take your career too seriously. Professional development is no longer linear, neither are the boundaries between professions.
The most interesting fashion designers I've learned from are often artists and architects, or come from other professions outside of fashion.