Two Years After Brand Launch, RobertoVasi Forays Into E-Commerce

1/5/2015
The RobertoVasi brand was launched in 2012 after two established names in the footwear world formed a partnership based on their mutual passion for beautifully made, fashion forward men's shoes. With several successful FN Platform shows under its belt, and shoes already available in DSW, Nordstrom.com and SAKS Off Fifth, RobertoVasi is very excited to announce the launch of its e-commerce website. Featuring androgynous model of the moment Elliott Sailors, the pair now can bring collections directly to their style-focused customers for the first time.

Footwear industry veteran Roberto Mingione met accessory designer and professor Vasilios Christofilakos while attending his accessories design class at FIT where Vasilios helped him hone his sketching skills.

"[Mingione] left Bally and was seeking more know-how," says Vasilios. "He was putting together a portfolio for a position at Kenneth Cole. I asked him to develop a men's line. It was fun and passionate. He got the job."

To say shoes have always been in Mingione's blood is an understatement. He fondly remembers playing in his grandfather's shoe repair shop in Brooklyn as a child. After 12 years at Kenneth Cole, beginning as a men's assistant designer and growing into the role of group VP over men's, women's and children's footwear, and with ideas for a shoe line of his own, it seemed a natural next step for Mingione to call on Vasilios's energy and fashion flair.

For Christofilakos, it was a prior meeting with Italian design icon Miuccia Prada that led him to seize this opportunity.
"I felt like I was greeting one of my aunts from Greece, even though she's Italian," he says of being introduced to Prada after she received an award at FFANY in 1996. "She shook my hand, kissed me on both cheeks after I congratulated her and she then said to me in her sexy Italian accent, 'Thank you so much... I hear of you and am told you know how to sketch...' (as her hand motions a drawing in the air on invisible paper), I said, "yes, I do". "Oh, very very nice... I need to learn to sketch too -- you show me?' She burst out laughing, as I did too. What a night. As I walked out of the venue and stepped into my car, I thought of our conversation, and thought to myself: that was my opportunity to drop what I was doing and tell her I'm willing to go to Italy and sketch for her. When opportunity knocks, open the door and step right in.'

Mingione and Christofilakos stayed in close contact over the years. Whenever Mingione needed a student intern, he called on his friend at FIT. "I always called Vasi when I needed an intern and FIT was a great source for young talent. Together we mentored many students who are today successful designers at some of the biggest footwear companies in the industry," added Mingione.
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