Over here at StyleDemocracy.com we are always in the pursuit of finding great products to tell you about. When we find one that’s Canadian, it’s a win-win! A couple of weeks ago, the SD team had an opportunity to sit down with the creative mind behind the Luigi Sardo brand- Markus Lacaria.

If you’ve never heard of Luigi Sardo, the Footwear brand has been making waves in the Toronto community for creating an everyday wearable sneaker that fits easily into your every day life.

We caught up with Marcus to ask him some questions and get the scoop behind his brand!

For someone that has never heard of Luigi Sardo, could you explain the concept behind the brand and where the name came from? 

I came up with the brand name during a time when my grandfather, named Luigi, was extremely ill and going through cancer treatments. I wanted to honour his legacy, as his life story is incredible, by naming my company after him. So Luigi comes from my grandfather’s name, and Sardo is the slang term used to describe people from the region of Sardegna in Italy, which is where he is from. The brand reflects classic style in it’s product design – inspired by Italian gentleman qualities, Italian fashion culture, and offers timeless pieces that can be paired with contemporary dressing styles.

Making shoes isn’t easy, why did you decide to take on this venture. 

I started with t-shirts, and eventually became fed up with the influx of t-shirt brands and logo based-products in the market. I didn’t want my brand to fall into this category, so I decided to diversify and get into the shoe business instead of t-shirts. While travelling throughout Australia I came across a style of shoes that inspired me to design my own line, later I travelled to China and that gave me the opportunity to sample my designs and learn more about what is involved in footwear manufacturing. I eventually placed a small order with a supplier I located, and Luigi Sardo Footwear was born.

What are some of the challenges you experienced as a designer/ entrepreneur in the early days of your startup? 

The usual fashion startup challenges…Qualifying people who think they deserve free product because of whatever reason, retailers not willing to view my product line, everyone giving me advice when they have no idea what they’re talking about, and dealing with foreign manufacturers. Basically, learning the hard way through trial and error and the constant battle between gut feelings and advice from others. In any startup, your wearing all the hats and making decisions that will propel your company and sales and it’s difficult to see decisions from different perspectives when your in charge in every function of the business.

How many styles of Luigi Sardo are there? 

There are four styles, the Sardo Classic, the Sardo Classic Mid, the Southport and the Cicero. In total, between these styles, there are over 100 colourways.

What type of guy/ girl wears Luigi Sardo?

The Urban Gentleman wears Luigi Sardo. This is a segment of males who are working towards goals in their life, who value chivalry, appreciate fashion and presenting themselves positively to the world, and live in urban areas.

Where can people interact with/ purchase your brand? 

Online and in store, people can purchase Luigi Sardo products and interact with the brand and myself. I am very active on social media, and encourage people to contact me with their ideas and criticism about my products.

Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs trying to navigate the fashion industry? 

My advice to young entrepreneurs in the fashion industry would be to understand where your role as an entrepreneur fits into a fashion business. You need to pick whether you will be a designer, a salesman, marketing person, operations manager, financier, etc. This industry is founded on a “cool factor” but the success of any business in this landscape comes from positive sales. So hire the right people to do what you can’t do, and stick to what your best at. It takes time to realize which path you want to take, and you have to find out where you can add value in the business.

You are very passionate about your brand, why do you love doing what you do? 

Thank you for noticing, I certainly am passionate about what I do. I love what I do because I can express myself through product design, and break new grounds in an industry that changes so quickly it’s hard to keep up. I’m a designer, and I love keeping up with the latest techniques in production, and travelling the world to find the right suppliers to make my ideas come to life.

What can we expect in the future from the Luigi Sardo brand? 

You can expect the brand to evolve based on our current product line, and watch as we introduce new models, new concepts, and establish a staple brand in men’s footwear. Boots are dropping next year, along with re-vamped versions of our current models and new models that I’ve been developing over the course of two years. I’m really excited to show my new designs, and I can’t wait for next year to release the models on the world and really make some waves in this industry.

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