"At [si.zif], we are inspired by repetition within the action of walking. Walking streets, trails, sidewalks, or simply walking through the path of life. Walking is a basic human instinct. Whether we walk forward or backward, we just don't think about it!"
Since the time when humans began to walk on two feet, we have travelled and explored all corners of the planet. Walking, the most ancient form of exercise, exploration and creative thought stimulation, is still today, one of the best ways to get a feel for a place and to experience life.
Celine Legey-Salisian, the designer behind [si.zif] shoes, has certainly experienced her share of exploring, growing up in Europe and Africa and finally settling in Los Angeles, California.
"I was born in Bayonne, France and I spent most of my childhood in Europe and Africa, where my family used to live. I never spent more than a few years living in cities across France, the Ivory Coast, Gabon, and the United Arab Emirates."Her experience working for several large scale manufacturing footwear brands also took her to countries like Vietnam and China. During these journeys she was able to learn a lot about footwear, manufacturing and the fashion industry. Which also led her to start questioning the meaning of it all.
"Traveling to Asia to oversee manufacturing for a brand that earned more than $700 million in gross revenue was a thrill for the young person I was at the time. But it also awakened me to the limits of the fashion system and ultimately made me questioned about the meaning of it. I came to realize that what I liked the most about my job was the making process of the footwear."
It was the beauty of the designing and making process of footwear that she came to enjoy, yet was missing in such large scale, fast fashion manufacturing systems.
So she decided to branch out on her own to produce shoes on a smaller scale, bringing back the original art form of the traditional Cordwainer. Connecting with a team of skilled local artisans in LA, Celine was able to make her dream a reality and bring to life her timeless brand of handmade shoes, [si.zif].
"[si.zif] is the French phonetic spelling for Greek Mythology’s, King of Corinth: Sisyphus. In French he is called Sisyphe. He was compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll all the way back down.
At [si.zif], we are inspired by repetition within the action of walking. Walking streets, trails, sidewalks, or simply walking through the path of life. Walking is a basic human instinct. Whether we walk forward or backward, we just don't think about it!"
Each shoe is thoughtfully designed by Celine - without concern for the latest trend but rather an appreciation for timelessness - and then handmade by her team of local LA craftspeople who, through the assembly of hundreds of shoes, have developed their own techniques, leaving their own special "foot-print" in the making of each pair.
"A craftsman repeats the same motions and techniques; with calm, precision, and an unequaled know-how that is often passed on from generation to generation. Repetition is therefore reflected in our products."From the initial designing, to the hand-cutting of the leather, the stitching, nailing and cementing of the different parts to make a whole, one person, a master in that particular skill, executes and oversees their particular piece of the puzzle. Every step of the process is carefully performed, examined and repeated.
"The uppers are stitched entirely by the same person and the shoes are lasted using dozen of nails. Before the uppers are cemented to the outsoles, the shoes remain from 3 up to 5 days on the lasts to ensure that the shoes will keep their shape. Finally, the shoes are brushed, polished and touched up prior being packed individually. Our [si.zif] shoes are labor intensive and made with care."
Wearable art in the form of footwear that will last far longer than any modern-day store-bought pair. In fact, [si.zif] shoes have been known to last for years. And once the sole wears down, they can be re-soled for you to enjoy for many more years of wandering, thinking and traversing through life.
"We hope that you will enjoy the subtle twist between tradition and modernism that we are putting forward into our shoe fashions just as much as we do! And most importantly: keep walking, it's worth it!"
Shop [si.zif]'s collection of handmade artisanal shoes here: