In Conversation with Rodrigo Sanchez

What made you decide to quit your job from big oil company and move to italy and attend Ars Sutoria?

I knew from the beginning I did not want a long term career in the oil and gas industry. It was not my calling. But, I am very thankful for the experience and opportunities it presented. I always had a passion for working with leather and using my hands. I guess it runs in the family. My grandfather and father have been working with leather since they were young. It was their way to express their creativity. I remember growing up hanging out with my dad in our basement watching him make shoes, sandals and all kinds of unique pieces. At 28 years of age I decided it was time to get serious about shoe designing. My mom planted the seed about studying abroad, so I let the idea process. During that time my mom had a good friend who's brother from Chile was visiting Edmonton and he is a shoe pattern maker. And that's how I met one of my mentors, Florencio Borquez a 70 year old man who has been pattern making since he was 14. He introduced me to the art of pattern making. This really inspired me to get educated about the craft. I asked him if he could recommend any institutes. He told me all the best pattern makers he's met all attended Ars Sutoria in Milan, Italy. This solidified my decision to attend Ars Sutoria.

Do you ever read fashion or design magazines?


What inspires you as a footwear designer?

My parents own and operate a shoe repair. So we are always around shoes. Many beautiful luxury shoes are serviced at our shop. It isn't hard to find inspiration there. My family always encouraged and inspired me to express myself with shoe making and I'm so grateful for that. They are my greatest inspiration.

Are there any materials that you would like to explore further?

I am trying to explore as many different leathers that are ethical. These days transparency is more common which helps choosing materials.  I am truly a believer in quality and that's what you will get with hand crafted leather shoes.

Do you have a motto when it comes to shoes?

My motto is quality over quantity. Well-made shoes are always a good investment.

What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?

You can tell the quality of a shoe usually by the materials that are used. Well-made shoes are designed to be maintained and serviced. For example; a quality shoe with a leather sole can be re soled up to 3-5 times depending on the client of course and how often they moisturize the upper leather. This will ensure years of enjoyment.


What style of shoes do you like and dislike?

I admire all shoes. I am trying to get as much experience as possible with all kinds of designs. They each have a uniqueness to them. Some are more challenging then others. But you learn more when overcoming obstacles. Sometimes I'll get stuck late in the studio and then after a good night sleep I have no problem figuring it out and moving on. It's a good idea to have a few projects going on at the same time to help stay stimulated.

Of all the shoes that you’ve designed, which has given you the most satisfaction?

The next one.

If someone is interested in ordering shoes from Zapato Sanchez, what advice can you give them about selecting style and colour?

Don't be afraid to express your creative side. Be true to your inner artisan.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

To awaken the public of the existence of locally made shoes where they can be directly involved with their creation.