Photo by Beth Garrabrant

Meet The Designer Making Timeless L.A-Crafted Shoes

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Brigette Sharp’s style is simple and refined; her Lou mules and boots are made for walking.

Brigitte Sharp gave birth to her daughter, Simone on December 16, 2017. The same day her own grandmother passed away. The synchronicity of these two life events gave her a jolt. One whose momentum led her to create Lou, a luxury brand of handcrafted footwear in L.A. Sharp says she wanted to create something that not only honored her grandmother, who was, according to Sharp, “the epitome of grace and class,” but also celebrated her daughter and redefined the way we choose our shoes.

“For the first time, I realized that I had something to say and I really felt the need to express it in a creative way,” Sharp says.

Brigitte Sharp and her daughter, Simone. Sharp launched Lou in honor of her grandmother, and to celebrate the birth of her daughter. The footwear designer is based out of Austin, Texas, but every shoe is handcrafted in L.A. Photo by Beth Garrabrant.

Her first collection, released this past February, encapsulates the brand’s steadfast dedication to minimalism and timelessness. Collection 01 features two simple styles: the Simone boot and Bardot mule — both made downtown.

“I am so inspired by L.A.,” Sharp says. “You can’t deny the incredible heritage Italy has of footwear making, but there are so many great craftsmen in the U.S., and it is encouraging to see people support brands that are made here.”

Sharp, who originally hails from Chicago, started her career at Marc by Marc Jacobs where she cut her teeth in the New York fashion world. She then moved on to Cushnie and oversaw their product development and production. Sharp took what she learned about the inner workings of domestic suppliers and the behind-the-scenes operations at a fashion house to build the ethos she based her brand on.

All Lou footwear is made from European-sourced leather and handcrafted in a family-owned factory in downtown L.A.

Sharp says she makes a point of being involved in all stages of the process, from design to shipping. Every pair of Lou’s go through about 10 or so sets of hands before they make their way onto buyers’ feet.

Both the Simone boot and Bardot mule are walkable. No blisters, no breaking in, no intricate Band-Aid binding necessary. The color options are a simple black, white and canyon python. There is thought-out practicality when you look at the height of the heel and the soft fabrics, but never at the expense of glamour. The idea is rather than buying a shoe for every occasion — thereby making more waste and more clutter — here are two styles that you can wear to any occasion, and can pair effortlessly with just about anything in your closet.

Sharp has impeccable taste, and her style is influenced by her years spent in New York City, but it is now more relaxed to fit her new life in Austin, Texas and her frequent L.A. visits.

While on local factory visits you can catch Sharp in the Arts District at the Good Liver perusing locally-crafted home-wear or grabbing a Japanese dinner — Matsuhisa is a long-time favorite.

“I made the mules to be the shoes I wear every day,” Sharp says. “In my 30s I want to feel more beautiful and refined, but I also want to feel comfortable, and I think L.A. is a really great mesh of that.”

Los Angeleno