Respoke began as a love affair. Nothing scandalous or naughty, just a simple love affair with a shoe which, like so many things Spanish, seemed a perfect marriage of style and function — the espadrille. Having achieved a level of success as a reseller of all things Hermès (a rather unusual career that is detailed in my memoir Bringing Home the Birkin), I began my quest for the ultimate espadrille.
Inspired by years of designer scarf collecting, I came up with the idea to repurpose my iconic scarves into beautiful espadrilles. With this in mind, I managed to find the very best team of multigenerational craftspeople in Spain, also known as the birthplace of espadrilles. Respoke was born. ¡Y ahí está!
Our initial launch was very well received because people learned that every pair is handcrafted and every pair is one-of-a-kind. The positive response to the classic espadrilles led my cofounder, Chris Bartick, our team, and me to develop additional product categories that could be “respoked” with iconic designer silk. We opened our first shop in Provincetown, where I’ve been summering for many years, and were overwhelmed with the reception we received. Everyone wanted to be “respoked”!
We are ever so grateful for the love and support our customers have shown us, and intend to hold to our mission of creating one-of-a-kind products that carry more value and self-identity than their original form. In the Respoke arena, the whole is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.
Hasta la próxima,
Michael J. Tonello
MAKING RESPOKE ESPADRILLES