Interview: Fane Footwear

The European loafer is a staple item for any man’s wardrobe, and young Sydney-based businessman Fane Levy is well aware of that. We took a moment to chat to Fane about his business and his view on Australian style.

1. What got you into shoes and why did you start Fane Footwear?

I’ve always been a lover of fashion, but also a bit of a wheeler and dealer and finding a means to fund my fashion habit was proving to be difficult. I loved loafers but couldn’t justify spending $500-$600 a pair so I began investigating this. After months of samples and new suppliers I found a solid loafer that I believed would sell well. I pitched to a funder, and FANE Footwear began. One year after our initial samples we had our batch of sellable stock ready, that was in August 2012.

2. Where do you source your materials from?

We source our materials globally. A large portion of leather comes from Bangladesh as they have fantastic quality leather and suede. We source some materials from Australia and the other portion comes from Italy & China.

3. The driving loafer is very European in style, do you think Australians are influenced by European trends?

Yes, Australia is extremely influenced by the European trends. In fact I source most of my inspiration from European style and trends. I love their culture, the way they dress, and live. It’s a more relaxed and unique culture. It appears that the European and Australian markets are loving the boater look at the moment, and this is the market I’m trying to reach. I love the look of coloured chinos, plain shirt and loafers/boat shoes.

4. Where do you draw inspiration from in the fashion world?

I source my inspiration from the current trends in Australia and globally, namely Europe. Television, Music videos, magazines and internet blogs drive my influence. I love the dapper and preppy look where sophistication meets style.

TV personalities and celebrities like Scott Disick, Tom Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio and David Beckham are all the top dressed in my books. I have a simple business plan. I keep to a minimum range of styles, but alter the design and feel of the shoes through colour. I believe colour is the most essential part to any item fashion piece. Without colour you are left with blank canvas, a silhouette.

5. What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Advice to those starting out would be – take it slow, baby steps and don’t rush. Image and reputation is everything, and if you mess up in the early days it will make it much harder to pull yourself up. Better to take it slow and allow the business enough time to grow and mature to get your products, processes and procedures in place. This will allow for a smooth launch and hopefully growth.

Fane Footwear is available online, and in selected Australian retailers.

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