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In the Spotlight: Adriana Epelboim-Levy
Venezuelan-born Adriana Epelboim-Levy formally trained as an architect at Pratt Institute in NYC. Informed by geometry and decorative-arts, ALEPEL, has dual parts of modern artistry and timeless elegance. Our designer’s inherent understanding of timeless elegance is one of the many reasons why ALEPEL consistently attracts sophisticated women from all around the world. ALEPEL has been featured in international publications and on celebrities including Camila Cabello, Ariel Winter, Josephine Skriver, VOGUE Latin America, Footwear News, Forbes, Oprah’s Magazine, Instyle, Glamour, Elle, Hola!, and Latina Magazine.
YOU FOUNDED ALEPEL BACK IN 2014; WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO ESTABLISH YOUR COMPANY IN ACCESSORY DESIGN? HAS YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND IN ARCHITECTURE INFLUENCED YOUR DESIGN AESTHETICS?
Since I can remember, art has been a key driver for me. I decided to go to architecture school so I could receive proper training and a greater understanding of how to build and how to create a structure or product (of any scale) & how to make an impact with my creative work. Even in school, I always knew I was celebrated for my art and had to apply it in my work to share with the world someday. Thankfully art comes in many ways and can be applied to pretty much anything in life. The art of painting, the art of expression, the art of transmitting, and the art of creating any object with a purpose. In 2014 I launched ALEPEL, which to me was the perfect way to intersect my passion for art, fashion, and architecture. ALEPEL represents a redefinition of the status quo of shoes and accessories. A canvas with endless possibilities where creative intervention brings together materials and processes that are wholly new. Our mission is to connect art and design into one-of-a-kind pieces that are as precious as the process involved.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MILESTONES THAT YOU ARE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF SINCE ESTABLISHING ALEPEL?
Since its inception over 7 years ago and through its iterations, the brand has maintained its main ethos of being a champion of womanhood. We achieve this by offering high-quality products that are sensible and project a debonair flair that highlights the Latin-American influence of our team. ALEPEL has been showcased in stores all around the world. We have been featured in international publications and on celebrities including Camila Cabello, Ariel Winter, Josephine Skriver, VOGUE Latin America, Footwear News, Forbes, Oprah’s Magazine, Instyle, Glamour, Elle, Hola!, and Latina Magazine. Last year we received the FGI-SF Award for Accessory Design.
PHOTO COURTESY: ADRIANA EPELBOIM-LEVY
HOW IS ALEPEL IMPACTING THE COMMUNITY IN SOUTH FLORIDA?
ALEPEL is a family-owned small business run by women and led by a diverse team of incredibly talented creative minds. Our production model is made by non-traditional procedures, making each piece unique and special. Every design is made by hand, hand-painted by a local group of artists here in South Florida, who, despite their different backgrounds, are connected through the language of art. We aim to support and revive our creative community to celebrate handmade and authentic work.
YOUR GENEROSITY TO CHARITY AND NON-PROFITS CAUSES HAS ALSO SET YOU APART IN THE INDUSTRY. DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS HAS GIVEN YOU AN EDGE OVER OTHER ACCESSORY DESIGNERS?
Any time we have the opportunity to involve a charity aspect in any collection, we do it. We have worked with different charities like Fundana, Make a Wish, Glam 4 Good, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and more.
PHOTO COURTESY: ADRIANA EPELBOIM-LEVY
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE EMPHASIS ON SUSTAINABILITY, REPURPOSED MATERIAL? AND DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS HEADING THAT WAY?
There is a unique story behind each of these pieces that we make, which gets touched by artists and continued through our customers. In a world where we are expected to fit into existing ideas, we present a clean canvas for a personal story to be painted. Our designs are meant to give light to your character and to be passed on and endure through, for you to have an item that has life, touch, and authenticity that you can treasure for life. All of our pieces are handcrafted in a fine factory in Brazil with selected materials. We always strive to create consciously by minimizing the harmful effects on the environment, being fair with our workers, and sourcing our materials with consciousness. To avoid excesses and waste, we have a hand-painted, “made to order” business model.
IF THERE IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO AN EMERGING BRAND OR A BUSINESS TRYING TO SCALE TO THE NEXT LEVEL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would suggest, before looking for expansion, it is critical to understand what your impact is and to identify what is the hero piece that defines you. It is also key to polish your production & procedures to perfection before aiming for growth. I am a strong believer that it is best to start small and grow slower, in a controlled way, for steady success in the future. Growth comes at the right timing, do not rush it.
PHOTO CREDITS PHOTOGRAPHER: FLÁVIO IRYODA - SPECIAL THANKS: FGI SOUTH FLORIDA & OSCAR LOPEZ
WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR COMPANY?
The past years have cemented the need for a brand like ALEPEL in the market and have proven that we have a unique offering. As of today, our main focus is to keep growing our DTC - where we have found more control and the ability to have a stable business. This past year our DTC grew 700%, and we are excited for more to come.
HOW HAS FGI CONNECTED YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS?
FGI has been a key support to our brand and team. Their content, events, publications, and connections in the industry have supported our growth in the past years. The SF fashion industry has proven to be cementing, and FGI has played an important role in their evolution. We were very proud and excited to be recognized by the FGI South Florida team for the Accessory Designer Award in 2020.

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