A while ago, I wrote an article on craftsman Chin Teo to highlight the dwindling value placed on true artisans. It ennobles me to present yet another brand focused on craftsmanship rather than industrial manufacture. Based in Italy, the small, in-house leather goods brand Marsell, constructs shoes and accessories that exemplify the artisanal ethos. While I'm not enthused about high-end streetstyle and gothic ninja being the new age of fashion, Marsell is an exception and cannot be ignored. They have mastered coalescing modern classicism and traditional utilitarian values. The production of Marsell's shoes feels refreshingly organic. Intentional cuts and slits turn into statements. Polishes and sculptural innovation give new meaning to the craftsman milieu that enables their function.
Stepping into Marsell's showroom, I was greeted by the most crisp of professionals. Wearing a simple black suit whose tapered trousers had just the right amount of drop to them, the showroom’s PR showed me in. Jean inundated me with innumerable details about the leathers, treatments, care, and production as well as how Marsell shares their leather with in-house brand, Guidi. Marsell believes in freedom of expression, and, through that notion, created ‘Marselleria permanent exhibition’ in 2009: a multi-disciplinary platform on which artists can express their ideas without limitation. Through expansion of style, Marselleria merges an inordinate amount of radical artists, while preserving the professional values that Marsell carries through their oeuvre. Marsell manages to create such seemingly facile production of quality leather goods that it is clear why they are well respected in the artisanal community; all while retaining their traditional ethos and adding subdued innovation to their work.