A family history
Angarde, the audacious name partly reflects the brand’s values and way of working. Because “angarde” means “avant-garde” in Old French; in advance on its time, yet supporting tradition, could well be the watchword of the business founded five years ago by Astrid and Alexandre Suermondt. Sister and brother, half Basque, half from the Landes, both grew up in Bordeaux and return regularly to Ascain, where their parents live. “We’ve always loved espadrilles, which you can find everywhere throughout the region”, explains Alexandre. “But, we thought they were a bit limited quality-wise, in particular their resistance to water and their comfort. So, when we decided to work together and to launch a brand, we both quickly had the same idea and thought it would be interesting to revamp this shoe and improve it. To make it more comfortable, but also to enhance it so it could be worn urban-style, in the city, and not just on the beach. The idea is that if you want to spend a weekend in Biarritz, you only need to take one pair of shoes with you, which will be multipurpose”, continues Alexandre.
After a year spent developing the concept, Angarde launched its first models during summer 2014 from its Paris office. This new design, a perfect mix between espadrilles and sneakers, was lightweight, ever-so stylish and enticed their target customers quickly.
Men, then women and children, Angarde diversified its offering without ever losing sight of its values: its leather, cotton and soles are sourced in France, Italy and Spain. Natural products, short-distribution chains and a firm commitment: part of Angarde’s profits is donated to the Solidarités International NGO, which develops access to drinking water in crisis-stricken countries. “It’s what we want to do and we can also see that it corresponds more and more to what consumers wish”, states Alexandre. “Of course, it’s first and foremost the look and quality of the product that makes the difference, but we can really sense now that there’s a need to buy things that are meaningful.”
In the same vein, Angarde proposes to recover old, worn shoes, to recycle them or reuse them, in exchange for a 20% reduction on a next purchase.
From €65, adult models.