Interviews of Fashion: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Nominee, Alejandro Ingelmo

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Interviews of Fashion: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Nominee, Alejandro Ingelmo

When an Olsen starts wearing your shit, you better be ready for some CFDA attention. Alejandro Ingelmo is the single shoe designer who’s on the nomination list for this year’s CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award, and his collection of sky high stilettos, metallic sneakers, and intricate strap-on heels is garnering some major attention for this young, Cuban-born designer. WWD got up close and personal with the designer to discuss his history and life pre-recognition. 


WWD: You’re a fourth-generation cobbler. Did you feel pressure to enter the family business?

Alejandro Ingelmo: No, just the opposite. My family disowned me for about a year when I moved to New York because they felt that I was a traitor to the family [for leaving] Miami. I ended up borrowing money from my father, and he said to me, “I’m going to help you out because you did everything I told you not to do, and you succeeded.” But it’s hard. I don’t sleep now at night because of this whole CFDA thing. It’s very hard to put myself out there and apply for these things. Who wants to be judged?

WWD: What was your first break?

A.I.: I quit Parsons and started making samples, and then I cold-called Bergdorf Goodman, a design merchandiser there. I was like, “Oh, I have an appointment with Barneys and Saks, you know, can you make some time for me?” I didn’t have any appointments. She said, “I don’t really have much time.” And I told her I really wanted to show her my shoes, and she said, “OK, well, I can squeeze you in.” And I got my Northface duffel bag, threw all the shoes in there and jumped on the subway. They bought the line. They were the first.

Interviews of Fashion: CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Nominee, Alejandro Ingelmo
Strapped and Ready for Action

WWD: Many of your shoes have an S&M quality to them, with lots of straps. How did that come about?

A.I.: A lot of it has to do with the covering of the foot — from a technical aspect, the foot has to have a lot of support, but I also feel like there’s something that’s so sexy about a woman who’s not showing everything. It’s the same with the feet — it’s always that play of having something that holds the foot but you’re still showing skin. The front is covered, so even if you have ugly feet, you can wear it.

I Want You So Bad I'll Pay Full Price

WWD: And now a lot of celebrities are wearing your shoes.

A.I.: Let me tell you something: I go to Starbucks every day, and I wear my shoes. And there’s a Starbucks guy who saw my sneakers and he was like, “Oh my God, those shoes are hot!” He asked where he can get them, and I said like, well, I make them, so if you want I’ll let you know the next time there’s a sample sale. A month went by, I went back, and he said to me, “What’s up, I bought your shoes!” And I told him he shouldn’t have, that I would have told him when there was a sample sale. And he said that he wanted them so bad, he just got them. That means more than the famous people.

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