Barbanera: Heeling The Sheriff

Moving forward sometimes means a step back, which is exactly the combination that Barbanera have instilled this winter. Their refreshing and modern style inventions originate from the greats of historical culture such as Kerouac, Cash and Pasolini.

There’s an old story from Sanderson, Texas where a young fellow regarded himself as the greatest outlaw in the Wild West. There was a Sheriff in the town who wore a wide-brimmed black felt vaquero hat, black leather boots with a Cuban-heel and smoked an enormous curly pipe. A bandit himself many years previously – he exclaimed “We gotta bring somebody in, somebody’s gotta go to jail, otherwise they’re gonna smell a rat. And I sure as hell don’t need the Marshall on my ass.” The Sheriff was talking about the recent train robbery. A contorted figure of authority, there is similarities to Barbanera who have disobeyed sartorial conventionalism with style and culture philosophies stemming from the renegades of art, music and literature.

Now if you haven’t yet heard of Barbanera you might think tradition is not taken seriously or firmly embedded in their creations. This is very far from the truth. There is a genuine devotion to deep-rooted Italian artisanal traditions. The firm was founded by Sicilian brothers Sergio and Sebastiano and their business partner Alessandro. Not from a long lineage of cordwainers, it has given the trio a free-spirited creative licence, drawing on the brother’s father’s love of art and antiques, Sergio’s affinity for psychedelic rock (a former band member bedecked in rock ‘n’ roll apparel on the stage), Sebastiano’s marketing background and Alessandro's history as an entrepreneur. They originally burst on to the scene as shoemakers fusing refinement with a myriad of cultural influences ranging from the Beat Generation to the Wild West. They continue to buck the trend with their unique styles of loafer and boot, whilst extending their repertoire to knits, jackets, jeans and t-shirts – all made from the finest materials.


    Freddie Anderson


    October 2020


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