Calleen Cordero’s first step on her journey to becoming one of today’s most inspiring American designers began in Marin County, California, where at the age of fifteen she was first immersed in the world of high fashion footwear. Beginning in sales at an upscale local boutique, her innate talent for fashion and her passion for well-crafted shoes began to shine through, and Calleen soon found herself elevated to the position of assistant buyer, travelling to Europe to view collections and meet with designers, all by the age of sixteen. From this precocious beginning, Calleen went on to represent some of the top names in the footwear industry and in the process learned, in a very hands on way, about every aspect of the art and trade.
Old World Artisan from California
In 1999, Calleen began designing her own line, and she began her company with two simple ideals held firmly in mind: she would bring the Old World art of handmade artisan quality footwear, handbags and accessories back to the United States, and everything that she made would be as authentic as it was beautiful, as comfortable as it was luxurious, and as nourishing to the soul as it was to the eye.
Calleen Cordero at Romp San Luis Obispo
With a factory based in North Hollywood, Calleen has almost singlehandedly resurrected the art of using handcrafted wood in the soles of her shoes-an art that California was once known for. Working with local artisans and using only natural materials and dyes, any given piece in Calleen’s line may pass through as many as twenty sets of hands, making each item truly one-of-a-kind work of art. Calleen personally oversees the domestic production of each collection and takes great pride in the fact that she is able to tailor-make items for the over 200 independent boutiques that sell her work worldwide, creating a unique presence in each store.
“Every shoe is a construction, destined, like a house, to accommodate a life.”
The passion and loyalty of Calleen’s customers and fans continues to provide her with unending inspiration, and it is her goal to return this inspiration and elevate the spirit-one sole at a time.
What Makes Calleen Cordero Unique?
The Calleen Cordero Factory
As the art of handcrafting luxury goods diminishes throughout the United States, Calleen Cordero is the only female designer who has managed to revive this traditional craft from the 70’s. At her Los Angeles factory, nearly 40 artisan employees work under one roof to bring Cordero’s designs to life.
From sculptors of wooden soles, hand-lasters and sewers, each piece is passed through the hands of talented workers the old school way. Calleen Cordero heels and wedges begin with planks of alder and ply wood from sustainable forests. The handcrafting process of being cut, drilled, sanded, stained and triple waxed creates the perfect heel. Orthopedic foam is individually fitted, making each shoe a product of comfort. The sandals are hand molded and a great deal of care is taken to ensure all footwear is ergonomically designed. The varieties of Italian leathers are vegetable tanned and metal artwork is a combination of solid brass and nickel, which is pressed freehand, one by one. Every heel, insole, and embellishment is the subject of exquisite detail. Her designs also include handbags, belts, leather based jewelry and accessories.
The Calleen Cordero factory is like nothing else in the US and it’s clear that quality and care stands at the center of every handcrafted piece.
- All woods used are from sustainable forests or recycled plywood.
- Most leathers used are vegetable tanned from Italy and chrome free.
- Multiple comfort features in every shoe including padded insoles and/or EVA midsoles.
- Leather soled sandals are hand molded with arch support.
- All linings are leather and hardware is solid brass and solid nickel.
- Every wood heel has been sculpted by free hand.
- All glues used are 80% non toxic to the environment.