The New Classic: Esquivel x Tommy Hilfiger

Los Angeles-based footwear designer George Esquivel trained in the classics. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist and creator of his eponymous line combines New World sensibilities with an Old World take on craftsmanship. It’s this devotion to heritage quality, matched with an eye for reinvention, that caught the notice of another homegrown American designer: Tommy Hilfiger.

Esquivel, whose classic-minded silhouettes and off-kilter color combos have made him a favorite of the likes of Janelle Monáe, Sean Lennon, and Waris Ahluwalia, first met Hilfiger through the 2011 CFDA/Vogue “Americans in Paris” initiative. After creating exclusive shoes for Hilfiger’s Fall 2013 menswear show, the pair decided to take their collaboration to the next level: a limited-edition capsule collection of footwear handmade in California, launching today.

“We both like things that are classic with a bit of attitude,” Esquivel says. “Tommy calls this ‘the twist.'” The twist, is this case, is whimsical riffs on classic brogue and loafer styles for men and women, updating the prepster staples with antiqued leather washing, prominent stitching, and bright outsoles. Details are key, and the execution is decidedly old-school: hand-punched perforations and hand-appliqued logos accent the styles; the Tommy Hilfiger + Esquivel logo has been branded into the leather using a hot iron. “They are preppy with a bit of edge—in color combinations that are very Tommy with an artisan touch that is very much me,” Esquivel explains.

In celebration of the collection launch, an accompanying digital campaign will invite bloggers to lend their own spin on the collaborative process. Select individuals will be invited to meet Esquivel at his studio in L.A., where they will personalize their own shoes to give away to their followers.