Kate McGregor--owner of Kaight in Brooklyn, NY--got a firsthand look behind the scenes at one of our factories in Peru. She wrote this article to further educate her customers about our brand and our ethical production process. We have the honor of sharing her adventure and insight with you here. Find more good reads on Kaight's blog here and shop her selection of ethically produced fashion either at her storefront in Brooklyn, or on her site
Fortress of Inca was founded on the belief that high-quality, sustainable materials produced by respected artisans and workers can create not only a great product, but that also sets the standard for socially responsible manufacturing. Recently, I had the immense pleasure of sneaking behind the scenes and touring the small, family owned and operated factory that makes by hand Fortress of Inca shoes.
The factory, located in the factory district outside Miraflores, Peru, is bright and airy. It's bursting at the seams with shoe lasts and leather; my guide, Adriana, who runs the factory founded by her grandfather and is herself a shoe designer (and also the inspiration for the Adriana Coco ankle boot), tells me roughly 80 employees work specialty stations, carefully cutting insoles, hand-stitching leather uppers, carving wood heels and more.
The four decades old factory was founded by Adriana's grandfather, an Italian shoemaker, in an effort to combine the tradition of Italian shoe making with the talent and craftsmanship of the Incas. Most of the manufacturing processes are done by hand; I was able to witness firsthand the attention to detail, thoughtfulness and care brought to each pair of shoes.
Leather insoles for Fortress of Inca shoes
Each step of the process is extremely labor intensive and is done by hand. This enables the factory to work with smaller brands, including Fortress of Inca, and allows them to create more specialized models. The worker above meticulously carves the outer edge on the leather sole on a pair of Adriana Coco boots. Each one is carefully finished by hand to create a high-quality look only found in handmade products.
The nearly finished Adriana Coco wait for the final step in the production process: the attachment of the wood block heel.
Click your favorite color to shop Adriana Coco on our website!