Stories / June 2019

Belsire: Start on a Good Footing

This forward-thinking new Neapolitan menswear brand is striving to build a trusted reputation for quality and value.

Founded in 2015 by Neapolitan brothers Diego and Valerio D’Angelo, Belsire’s brand name is an amalgam of the Italian words ‘bello’ (good-looking) and ‘signore’ (gentleman). Perhaps the brothers could’ve tried to work the words ‘accessibili’, ‘confortevole’ and ‘qualità’ into the amalgam, because — in addition to handsomeness and sophistication — affordability, comfort and quality are Belsire’s other key values.

Diego says, “We believe that nowadays, a brand should be closer to the final client. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to reach your customer directly.” Rather than wholesaling to brick-and-mortar retailers, Belsire prefers to work with an ecommerce partner such as The Rake that allows the brand to deliver high standards of workmanship and design at a reasonable price. “We don’t compromise on quality, our quality is very high,” Diego explains, “but thanks to this model we can give an attractive price to the final client.”

He explains, “Our partnership with The Rake works very well. We both take a lower margin than is usual, but this allows us to sell our products at a lower price — which makes our clients happy.” Diego says tech-enabled democratisation of Neapolitan style was the brothers’ goal when creating the business. “We were motivated to give a broader cross-section of clients across the world access to Italian craftsmanship and style. We want to give customers internationally the opportunity to buy great quality, artisanal, made in Italy shoes, leather goods and accessories.”

Belsire is not only thoroughly modern in its approach to distribution, but also in its response to the contemporary customer’s demand for clothing that balances style and comfort. “Our aim is to give the client classic but up-to-date shoes — and shoes they can wear all day,” Diego says. “The world is becoming more casual, no? People wear ties less and less, and they may wear jeans to work, but perhaps with a double-breasted jacket. We wanted to give people with these tastes and lifestyle a shoe that they can combine with a very formal suit or a more casual outfit, while always remaining very elegant.”

Diego expresses the utmost respect for British shoemakers — but with a caveat. “They are incredibly high quality and it is said that their shoes can last a lifetime. Sometimes, though, it can take a while to wear those shoes in; you have to suffer a bit in the first months,” he remarks. “With Belsire, we have studied and spent a lot of time on ensuring instant and enduring comfort. You wear our shoes and from the first day, they’re very comfortable.” He points out that even in Blake-constructed shoes, “We use cork in the soles, just as they do with Goodyear-welted shoes.”

Committed to 100 percent Italian craftsmanship across their range of products, the D’Angelos’ Neapolitan roots are reflected in everything Belsire does, says Diego. “The people of Napoli, we have a very long tradition of giving importance to fine details from a very, very young age. We are raised with this appreciation for details, for beautiful craftsmanship. In Naples, if you’re fortunate, your first suit is made by a tailor, your shirts are made su misura… Growing up in this context gives you a real sense of style. So it’s an advantage, being born in Naples, in this business.”

The company is dedicated to the worthy task of supporting the traditional sartorial arts. “Naples is a complicated city, but its beauty is that there are many, many artisans, most of whom are not famous, who continue passing down their traditions and their skills. It’s a privilege for a brand like Belsire to work with these artisans,” Diego says. “We don’t only do shoes, we also do accessories and leather jackets, and for these products we choose to work with particular artisans with the greatest competence in their field. It’s fulfilling to play a small role in keeping these skills alive, as there’s always the risk that such artisans and their savoir-faire can be lost. Sometimes, the big brands don’t place the same importance on details and craftsmanship as small brands do.”

Belsire was eager to partner with The Rake Values, Diego says, because this platform granted an even greater opportunity to introduce new customers to the brand’s high-quality, affordably priced offering. “As a new brand, it’s always a challenge to get people to buy your products, but that is only half the battle. More importantly, it is vital that after they’ve been purchased, the quality of your product becomes apparent. You need to demonstrate and prove the product’s value to the customer, over months or years of use. Then, they will buy from you again, because quality speaks for itself.”

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.