Bringing Home the Birkin

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. After partnering with artist, graphic designer, and branding expert Chris Bartick, we 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 our team to develop additional product categories that could be “respoked” with iconic designer silk. 

All Respoke products are unique because they are produced from different sections of the scarf. Each piece carries more value and self-identity than their original form. In the Respoke arena, the whole is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts.

Want to dive deeper? Read the Accessories Council's article on the founding of Respoke.

Respoke Co-founders Michael Tonello & Chris BartickHasta la próxima,

Michael Tonello signature

Michael J. Tonello
Chris Bartick 
Respoke Co-Founders