3 January 2024
© Ushua Goeminne
Marlou Browaeys, Dempsey Pauwels and Evelien Sommen founded L’EDGE in 2020. Meanwhile, their edgy men’s shoes with unconventional lines and quirky colour combinations are catching on.
Who is L'EDGE?
We want to see the wide range that you find for women reflected in the men’s sector. We create our own patterns and integrate them into our shoes. For example, other brands follow the classic brogues and apply their branding to them, but they don’t make the construction from scratch like we do. We demand quite a lot of innovation from our manufacturers because we come up with many new designs that deviate from the standard.
We work with top Italian certified tanneries. This summer, we launched slippers produced in Belgium. Ditto for our accessories. We deliberately keep our shoe production in Europe. We also always consciously choose leather because it is a sustainable product.
Convincing the Belgians remains the biggest challenge of all. We also export quite a lot to America, soon to be followed by Japan and then China. Those markets don’t need convincing. Belgians are more conservative and need to be persuaded. That requires a huge marketing budget.
Another struggle is our capital strength. Developing a new design requires a lot of money. Precisely because of our limited budget, we focus on models that we think will do extremely well. Our shoes are now in a number of stores throughout Flanders; we are active through our own webshop and Zalando and we work with an export company. Our ambition is to open our own flagships. We want to establish a global brand that can compete with the biggest names, such as Versace or Dolce & Gabbana.