One-On-One With Angelo Lupis On Launching His Latest Brand, Ishikawa

IshikawaPhoto Credit: IshikawaMade in Italy, inspired by Japanese culture is the ethos of the latest new footwear brand, Ishikawa, founded by Italian designer Angelo Lupis. Having worked in the fashion industry for Italian brands for over 20 years, Lupis decided to create the perfect shoe that embodies all of his core beliefs—comfort, style, high-quality materials and beauty. Thus, Ishikawa was born, offering customers an assortment of different leather sneaker styles that are just as comfortable and durable as they are stylish. Here, we chat with Lupis to learn more about Ishikawa, how it started and what his goals for the brand are.

HL: How did you come up with the concept of Ishikawa? 

AL: I worked in the industry for 20 years with various Italian brands. I wanted to start my own company and design shoes that I love. The name was inspired by Japan, as I have always loved Japanese culture. More specifically, I was inspired by the fashionable island, Okinawa, also known as the emperor’s house.

HL: What was important to you when designing the shoes?

AL: The quality of the shoes was the most important aspect for me. I wanted to ensure that all materials we were using were of high quality.

HL: Tell us some unique features of the shoes. 

AL: The quality of the shoes has been recognized since the company was created. They’re very luxurious. The material on the soles of the shoes is similar to that of a memory foam mattress. Your feet will create a memory form inside the shoes, making them comfortable and the perfect fit to wear all day.

HL: Tell us about the process of launching this brand.

AL: I understood that sneakers are the future of shoes. Most companies are prioritizing sneakers right now because they’re comfortable, cool and in style. With this project, I felt it was unique because the brand’s DNA is Italian, but they have a Japanese name. I had success in Europe and proceeded to introduce the shoes to the U.S. market. This was more challenging because I needed to learn a new market—especially a market that is very oversaturated with this product.

HL: Are you able to do custom orders?

AL: Yes, we have a factory in Italy that produces 100-percent of our shoes, so we have the ability to produce an order even as small as one pair. We can create custom shoes, fulfilling any unique requests for our clients. We have already done some for celebrities and our loyal clients. It is a very unique experience for them to design and receive their custom shoes.

HL: What are your goals for Ishikawa?

AL: I want to make my move to the U.S. to experience and truly understand the market in order to continue designing shoes that my customers want. I am also planning on opening my first store in L.A., with the second following in New York.

HL: Where can we find Ishikawa shoes?

AL: The most accessible way is to order from our website, which ships internationally. There are also some mono-brand stores in Italy. In Miami, we are available at the Faena Spa level, some stores in Wynwood and Miami Beach, with my first U.S. mono-brand store opening in L.A. in the near future.