A recent conversation with his mother jogged a childhood memory for Miami shoe designer Fabrice Tardieu. In their native Port-au-Prince, Tardieu’s family owned a shoe factory, and as a boy he once asked his mom to stitch a leather toe trim onto his canvas shoes.
“I was 8 years old,” Tardieu said from his by-appointment-only showroom in Little River. “Today, the No. 1-selling shoe at Lanvin Paris looks so much like what I was envisioning at age 8.
“I had an understanding at a young age of things that could be really cool. I had it in me, but I didn’t know I had it in me — it just came later.”
Why sneakerheads love him
He began his self-named shoe and apparel brand from his apartment three years ago, putting his life savings on the line to embark on a dream of designing luxury leisure wear. Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union are fans of Tardieu’s couture sneakers, as is a Middle Eastern royal who last year bought 22 pairs — all size 10.5 — during a stay in Miami.
Tardieu got his professional start in fashion studying in France and working for Giorgio Armani before launching the Bogosse shirt label with his brother Patrick. Tardieu decided to walk away from that collaboration to rediscover his creativity, he said.
“I went from Ferrari to Uber,” he said of his pivot toward a risky new challenge.
Fabrice Tardieu collaborates with Canelo
A trip to Bali on the advice of an energy healer led Tardieu toward a plant-based diet, a yoga routine and a drive to start his own design line and Miami showroom. Three years in, he remains in control of every step of the creative process.
His factory in Italy is working on 25 new unisex pieces, and the line he said he is most excited about is his “I Am Mexico” capsule collection. It’s a collaboration with Mexican professional boxer Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez.
“In all of my collections, you will find color: cobalt blues, reds and gold,” Tardieu said. “We always bring back that Miami vibe. It’s always fresh and bright, even in the winter.”
Fabrice Tardieu, 7221 Northwest Second Avenue, Miami; 786-631-4194; fabricetardieu.com.