A footwear line that takes the best of African quality and equality for all: that probably goes to Oliberté Footwear, which recently announced its launch in Singapore. The label is the first to produce premium leather shoes exclusively in Africa.
Creator and owner of Oliberté, Tal Dehtiar, believes that Oliberté is the answer to a social entrepreneurship model that does not make the social story the be all and end all of a credible business. In a blogpost, Tal says: “If we were just a social story, we wouldn’t have a chance to survive long-term, but by being based on a quality product with unique design, we’ll achieve longevity.”
Moreover, Tal opines in his blogpost (link on his name) on the need not to help crippled countries by simply offering developmental aid. He simply provides a business platform for good ol’ buy and sell instead of doing other things that may not deliver full results. By choosing not to throw a pity party, Oliberté shows that it can do good without preaching for good.
Tal also states that Oliberte aims to support more than a million jobs in Africa through its supply chain directly and indirectly. The label employs African artisans to create a premium line of products and also partners with factories, suppliers, farmers and the working and middle classes to create fair and safe jobs for societal development. The label operates in countries such as Ethiopia, Liberia and Kenya, with the goal of expanding to Cameroon, Congo, Uganda and Zambia in the future.
With over 1000 stitches for every shoe, each Oliberte pair is made out of hand-picked leather and lined with goat leather that stretches and forms according to the wearer’s feet shape. Each shoe’s leather heel is reversed for slip prevention and special stitching is done by hand. Materials are sourced in Africa and shoes are handcrafted in local African factories from start to finish.
Oliberte Footwear has a wide range of men’s semi-formal shoes that range from boat shoes, mid-cut boots to desert boots. Each range is named after an African country or city, stamping the African culture in every shoe.
Oliberte Footwear ($199-$219) is now available at Threadbare & Squirrel, 660 North Bridge Road (Bali Lane). It will be available at In:Famous, #02-209, VivoCity in mid-April 2012.