Today, Pete Sorensen, the brand founded by Camille Hourdeaux and Kevin Serpaggi has just turned 10 years old. Happy birthday! She takes care of the design and he takes care of the purchase of the skins. Their common taste for rock, the influences of cinema and music, the attraction for the purity of Scandinavian lines form an intense cocktail in their collections. This very typical style attracts a fashionable clientele who also appreciates careful manufacturing and small series.
6 questions to Kevin Serpaggi, co-founder of Pete Sorensen:
What have you learned in ten years?
Kevin Serpagi: We have learned that being both entrepreneurs and shoemakers is very time-consuming. We also understood that it was necessary to keep a great coherence between our product, the customers and the distribution, and that the quality of the production must be regular. Everything must be aligned without forcing.
Why did you choose Italian manufacturing?
The Marche region is historically linked to leather craftsmanship and manufactures for the big luxury houses. There are the most beautiful tanneries and the best know-how. For eight years, a family workshop of 15 artisans has been manufacturing 100% of our Blake sewn shoes by hand, which automatically limits our production to a maximum of 2,500 pairs per year. With the craftsmen, we have also recently reworked our insoles by lining them to make them more robust. We also added a solid welt. Thus, the leather is less in contact with surfaces such as pavements.
What’s new on the skins side?
I only buy vegetable tanning (without chemical chrome treatment), certified and traced. I’m looking for the thickness, the texture of greasy or oiled leather that lends itself to raw treatments. Indeed, there are novelties, including this naturally lacquered, semi-matt leather. Its natural glaze is worked by hand by the tanner in a thick full-grain calfskin which takes on a velvety appearance and where satin effects appear. We carve the New Phantom model, in black or woody brown.
How is the distribution of an independent brand organised?
We have refocused our distribution activity on five stores, loyal from the start, and on our own point of sale in Paris. We are not looking to expand at any cost. We offer a permanent collection of 30 models, enriched with two or three new ones per year and five to six other seasonal ones that our customers can customize (materials and colors to choose from).
What is the profile of client Pete Sorensen?
Urban, dandy, faithful to his look and his shoes – including our StonehengeForest, adventurer shoes. He looks like Jean Dujardin, Frédéric Beigbeder Guillaume Canet, Yann Barthès or Julien Doré, who wear our models. Or the British singer Pete Doherty, who came to choose pairs of shoes before a concert in Paris.
Being independent: advantage or disadvantage?
We move forward at our own pace by controlling our development. We don’t run after special collaborations, although we’ve worked with Zappa and… The Good Life ! Today, we are looking to open a second store, probably in Bordeaux.
• 2011 : the house was founded in Paris by Kevin Serpaggi and Camille Hourdeaux.
• September 2012 : the first collection was born in their boutique apartment.
• 2014 : opening of the 1st showroom, 5, rue de Charonne, Paris 11th.
• 2020 : move to 44, rue Croix‑des‑Petits‑Champs.
• 2 500 : the number of units manufactured each year in Italy in the Marche region in a workshop of 15 people.
• Leathers : certified and traced, vegetable tanning, chrome free.
• Shops : 1 in-house in Paris (a 2nd should open in 2022 in Bordeaux) and 5 selective multi-brand points of sale in France.
• Models : 30 in all, 2 to 3 new products per year and seasonal proposals. Flagship model: the New Phantom.
• Special collaborations : Zappa, the magazine The Good Life.
• Clients : Jean Dujardin, Frédéric Beigbeder, Guillaume Canet, Julien Doré, Pete Doherty…