by Karen Alberg Grossman

Nico Zappiello is an Italian fashion designer and former creative design director for Zac Posen and Bruno Magli. Although his father, who was also a footwear craftsman, urged him to seek a different career, Nico had a passion for footwear early on (his first job was making lasts at a last factory) and felt compelled to follow his destiny.

But after several years crafting and designing for various great brands, he’s recently launched his own namesake men’s footwear collection, handmade in Italy, based in New York. “I’ve made quality and comfort the key pillars of my brand,” he explains. “My current collections fuse the most modern design elements with traditional craftsmanship and timeless style. Working directly with the best tanneries in Tuscany and a fabulous workshop in Italy, I’m able to offer retailers customized details and very low minimums. All of my shoes are made from the finest materials (the leathers we use for linings cost as much as the outside materials) and are offered at very competitive prices.”

Indeed. Flexible sole loafers in the softest skins wholesale between $110 and $150. His Timeless collection features classic styles with double leather soles so that a cobbler can more easily rip off the bottom layer for repairs. A modern nubuck sneaker with rubber sole wholesales at $110, as does a hand-painted leather version. “At a time where there are so many choices in fashion,” says Nico, “I’ve found that simplicity and consistency are what most men want.”

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