Good Fashion - Fortress of Inca

Fortress of Inca Lulu Dahlia red Peruvian textile wedges statement shoe Faye Lessler

Fortress of Inca shoes are practical yet playful, and they will stand the test of time. I hope you are ready for your shoe rack to get a sustainable makeover because this brand is stellar!

By now you’ve all seen me in my Isabella Flats - they rarely leave my feet. These pointed d’orsays are chic, simple and uber comfy. I wear them at least thrice a week, and while they took a bit of breaking in, they are now some of the most walkable shoes I own. Lately, though, on my sassier days, I’ve been trading them in for a new shoe; the Lulu Dahlia.

Fortress of Inca Lulu Dahlia red Peruvian textile wedges statement shoe Faye Lessler

The Lulu Dahlia by Fortress of Inca is maybe not the most practical shoe, with a pop color and sky-high wedge. Somehow, though, they do manage to be comfortable! I have spent three hours running errands in New York City in these shoes and not had one complaint from my feet. A night out in the Lulu Dahlia’s may be dangerous when you factor in alcohol-induced clumsiness, but damn, these shoes feel good. When I’m wearing my Lulu’s, I feel sexy and happy. Happy because I’m wearing awesome Peruvian textiles on my feet! I may be minimalist in my everyday wear, but special pieces like these never fail to put a smile on my face.

Fortress of Inca just gets it. The shoe brand was inspired by a pair of colorful boots which made founder Evan Streusand’s feet feel good as he trekked around Peru. The stunning indigenous textiles and sheer mastery of craft he found in the country inspired Streusand to start a brand that does it right; celebrating people and craft in an incredibly chic way. Here is what Fortress of Inca has to say about their own brand:

Handmade in Peru to this day, Fortress of Inca channels a free-spirited and elegant lifestyle, while bringing the finest quality leather and other natural materials to each pair of shoes. Each collection features designs that boast originality, intricate detailing, and comfort.”

As a lover of textiles and traditional crafts, I greatly appreciate the inspiration behind Fortress of Inca. In a fast fashion industry where cultures around the world are taken and twisted to fit a “modern” aesthetic, it is so refreshing to see a brand that truly respects the culture which inspired it. It is too often that we forget how integral human hands are to beauty and to our human history. Fortress of Inca highlights process as an important part of their decision making and pricing information, and that practice has served them well. There is no need to purchase cheaply made products with appropriated graphics emblazoned on them when we have this alternative. Fortress of Inca employs local Peruvians and puts their traditional skills to work on products that correctly portray a piece of their culture. This is an appreciation and respect of the hand-craft and history of a people.

All of Fortress of Inca’s products are handmade in Peru, in factories or workshops that are closely audited. Employees are local and given the pay that any American worker would expect. The shoes are made from unique, locally sourced, natural materials. The brand considers ethical production, fair wages and high quality materials as top priorities, and it really shows. Made in bulk and paid-per-piece these shoes are not! The quality of the product correlates directly to the amount of skilled craft and care that went into their making, and when you love a pair of shoes as much as I love my Fortress of Inca’s, you want them to last a long time.  I've only had the Lulu Dahlia's for a month, but my Isabella flats have held up for over a year of frequent, rough wear. They are due for a re-soling, but aside from that, they remain in great condition.

Fortress of Inca Lulu Dahlia red Peruvian textile wedges statement shoe Faye Lessler

The Lulu Dahlia's are now available online along with tons of other great Fall styles!

Fortress of Inca Lulu Dahlia red Peruvian textile wedges statement shoe Faye Lessler

All images taken by Stephanie Ang.

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