Made in L.A.: Kick Up Your Heels

A small but dedicated group of shoe designers is set to make a big imprint

Calleen Cordero (Right)
No shoe manufacturing infrastructure existed here when cobbler Calleen Cordero set up shop in 1999. “But back in the ’70s, L.A. was famous for hand sculpting wood shoes, so it seemed natural for me as an Angeleno to resurrect the art of shoe making here,” she says. 

Penelope and CoCo (Left)
Designer Marisa Spinella and publicist Arielle Vavasseur joined forces to produce a unique line of foot- wear. “There are no machines pumping out thousands of shoes per day, but that’s what makes creating shoes here so special,” says Spinella. 

You can’t drive down a city street without passing an American Apparel billboard. The company employs 5,000 people, and its downtown site is the largest garment factory in the country. $14.