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We’re on a mission to be the most responsible brand we can be and that starts with pace, process and production.

At ESSEN, our ambition is to create a brand that upholds a more conscious pace and process; one that minimises harm and impact from production to consumption. From slowing down the fashion cycle to reducing waste and prioritising people, we’re committed to putting every decision under the microscope in pursuit of doing better.

Slowing Down The Fashion Cycle 

ESSEN was founded in response to an industry that overproduces more than it carefully crafts, chases trends more than it determines classics and wastes more than it sustains. To curb overconsumption, we must collectively make the shift towards pieces that champion versatility and longevity. Buying less starts with buying better and to us, that means beautiful pieces, thoughtfully crafted and designed to last.

Keeping A Small Footprint

Reducing waste is something we strive to do at every point in our process. We cut our raw materials as tightly as possible, ensuring we use as much as we can. This allows us to keep our footprint small.

Our new styles are produced through a pre-order model, meaning we only produce what we sell. This format allows us to minimise waste and over-production while better managing our resources. It also lowers production costs per pair, meaning our pricing can stay honest too.

In addition to reducing waste through small-batch production runs, we only work with high-quality materials from low-minimum suppliers. We source as much of our leather as we can aniline and chrome-free, which aesthetically makes them perfectly imperfect with subtleties, density and depths that vary beautifully pair by pair. It’s a sentiment we carry into our jewellery collections too, working with 100% locally sourced recycled precious metals.

Because our shoes are handmade and use traditional artisan techniques, any subtleties are part of the beauty of the leather and illustrate the true craftsmanship. These techniques are used in our Italian tanneries as well, resulting in soft, buttery leather that allows our craftsmen to work their magic and explore the folds and textures of the material. Once finished, our artisans burnish and polish the leather, bringing out its character to make every shoe one of a kind.

Putting People First

The best shoes in the world are made by generational craftsmen in Italy, Portugal and Spain, so that’s where we went to create our shoes. We were careful about how we sourced suppliers, and are fortunate now to work with the best shoe factories in the world.

The expert craftsmen in our factories have been making shoes for generations, bringing heart and expertise to every pair they make. From leather selection to engineering that lasts and finishing every shoe by hand, our entire range of styles is produced by people who care. They’ve become our friends and are involved in every part of the process, sharing stories and advice at their kitchen tables along the way.

Our business relies on people and how we treat them matters. We will never switch to cheaper alternatives. Instead, we’re invested in making sure their craft is compensated accordingly, and are committed to giving continuous, well-paid work. We invite you to go inside our factories to discover how your shoes are made here.