Luxury Roundtable

Couture, fashion and leather goods

Aimée Ann Lou embraces conscious couture with wholly sustainable luxury footwear across entire value chain

May 3, 2024

Mayumi Oxford Black Velvet. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Mayumi Oxford Black Velvet. Image: Aimée Ann Lou


Aimée Ann Lou is out to set itself as the standard bearer of sustainability in the highly competitive luxury footwear market as it expands from an ecommerce and Italian presence to the U.S. market.

Since its debut at Milan Fashion Week in 2022, the London-based brand has sought to carve a niche for itself as a luxury shoe alternative for women who seek functional glamour and elevation without stilettos. Made in Tuscany near Florence, the shoes employ heritage craftsmanship techniques with renewable energy and environmentally-sensitive natural materials – all core to its market positioning.

“From meticulously sourcing the finest eco-friendly materials to implementing sustainable manufacturing processes and ensuring environmentally responsible packaging, the journey towards sustainability demands greater resources and effort,” said Aimée Homer, founder of her eponymous brand.

“I made this dedication because for me it better aligns with the essence of luxury itself, where quality, exclusivity and consciousness intersect to create what I would now call an ultra-luxury experience,” she said.

Aimée Homer Aimée Homer

In this interview, Ms. Homer outlines Aimée Ann Lou’s USP, opportunity and challenges with sustainability in the luxury footwear market, the SKU lineup, target audience and the sustainable practices employed through the footwear’s entire life journey.

Also discussed are the pricing strategy adopted, the brand’s goals for this year and next, and the inspiration behind the brand launch.

Please read on:

Iris Slip On Oxford White. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Iris Slip On Oxford White. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

What is Aimée Ann Lou’s unique selling proposition as demand for sustainable luxury grows?

Our unique selling proposition at Aimée Ann Lou revolves around 'conscious couture,' where we redefine authentic luxury.

We meticulously cover the entire value chain, sourcing the finest conscious materials and ensuring full transparency throughout.

From our commitment to recycled and recyclable packaging to prioritizing comfort and care for our clients’ feet, we aim to provide a holistic and sustainable luxury experience.

Cleo Selection. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Cleo Selection. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

The luxury footwear business is highly competitive. Is being sustainable through-and-through an edge over competition?

In the fiercely competitive realm of luxury footwear, committing to sustainability entails a higher level of investment and attention to detail.

From meticulously sourcing the finest eco-friendly materials to implementing sustainable manufacturing processes and ensuring environmentally responsible packaging, the journey towards sustainability demands greater resources and effort.

I made this dedication because for me it better aligns with the essence of luxury itself, where quality, exclusivity and consciousness intersect to create what I would now call an ultra-luxury experience.

I wanted the Aimée Ann Lou brand to be a pioneer in sustainable luxury – I want to say ultra-luxury – and I recognized that greatness comes with an upfront investment. But coupled with the understanding that the journey towards sustainability is not only about seizing an immediate edge, it's also about cultivating a lasting legacy of opulence and responsibility.

As fast fashion brands pop up launching new collections as fast as a ‘just-in’ Kelly bag leaves a Hermès store, at AAL we have taken a more long-term view and approach in order to be positioned for an enduring presence in the constantly changing fashion world.

Our commitment to sustainability isn't just about staying ahead of the curve – it's about shaping the future of luxury footwear and establishing a lasting legacy of exquisite, responsible craftsmanship and timeless elegance.

Cleo Mule Kiwi Green. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Cleo Mule Kiwi Green. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

What types of footwear does Aimée Ann Lou specialize in and for whom?

Our signature style is the ‘Iris,’ which is the Aimée Ann Lou take on the very British ‘Oxford.’ It sets the tone of what we specialize in: reimagined classics known for their comfort and functionality, upgraded through innovative design and exceptional craftsmanship to create something so very special, we affectionately refer to this as ‘functional glamour.’

I design for the modern-day Wonder Woman, an individual with a myriad of tasks on her to-do list and a calendar full of events, not to mention maintaining step-count goals.

To these empowered women, I understand the importance of versatility and functionality in their shoes.

So, each design I create is not just a style statement but a tool to help women navigate their busy schedules with grace and confidence.

Our collections feature a stunning array of styles, from crystal slides and accented mules to garden party sling-backs, embellished Oxfords and loafers all the way to silk-satin and velvet paneled combats with bio-based lightweight soles with secret height.

I’m excited to share that we are soon to launch a new range of holistic heels, a 70mm signature heel that distributes the pressure of a heel over two enlarged surface areas.

These heels not only alleviate any discomfort but also prevent those dreaded moments of grid or pavement entrapment – we’ve all been there. And in true Aimée Ann Lou style, they exude an elegant and flattering aesthetic that resonates with all our designs and embodies our Functional Glamour DNA.

Azima Boot + Iris Slip On Oxford. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Azima Boot + Iris Slip On Oxford. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

Describe some of the sustainable practices employed in the manufacture of the brand’s shoes?

I handpicked our Tuscany factory among many contenders due to some key factors.

For instance, the factory harnesses the sun’s energy to power its production abilities by utilizing solar panels on its roofs, effectively reducing carbon emissions.

Additionally, cutting-edge technology, including waste management innovations and precision pattern cutting, optimizes material usage, thereby conserving precious resources and minimizing landfill waste.

When it comes to materials, we're proudly stringent.

Every fabric and leather bears the mark of sustainability, whether it's the EU Ecolabel on our water and tree-saving textiles or certifications from prestigious bodies like the Better Cotton Initiative and Global Organic Textile Standard for our organic cotton and silk satin.

Our leather is also more than just luxuriously supple. It's Gold-Rated by the Leather Working Group, Italian origin and fully traceable, ensuring its ethical journey from source to shoe.

I also like to highlight how we prioritize the responsible sourcing of crystals used in our shoes.

Typically, a water-intensive process, crystal manufacturing is a battleground for sustainability and there are a lot of ex-E.U. suppliers who do not meet our standards.

That's why we've aligned with only the most environmentally committed suppliers, those who not only issue public environmental reports but also invest in water-saving techniques.

Our crystals boast E.U. REACH certification, a testament to their ethical origins and sustainable production practices, ensuring they shimmer guilt-free on our shoes.

Ava Loafer Black. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Ava Loafer Black. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

What inspired you to launch a brand?

Firstly, Aimée Ann Lou is a slight abbreviation of my three forenames, Aimée Ann Louise.

I did not want to use my first and last name ‘Aimee Homer’ because ‘Homer’ has already garnered some attention, whether through the well-known Simpsons character or the esteemed Greek philosopher – an interesting contrast.

Launching my own brand has always been a dream of mine from the very beginning, driven by a desire to express my creative side and my love to always look well-curated.

However, as my journey unfolded, shaped by parent-driven academic pursuits and resulting professional experiences, this aspiration evolved into something much more profound. It transformed into a mission to fuse high fashion and design with problem-solving while addressing sustainability in a glamorous way.

I like to think that I developed a unique perspective and a deep passion for style with innovation and smart thinking.

My journey took a transformative turn when I finally immersed myself in the artistry of footwear design in Milan. It was there that I learned the specifics and expertise needed to help me merge elegance with functionality, offering women an alternative to traditional pumps or stilettos.

I knew I wanted to give women a break, empower them and celebrate them by offering shoes that exude sophistication and comfort. And as a woman myself, I felt compelled to address the negative impact that the fashion industry often has on the planet, so that we can preserve it for future generations and enjoy the luxuries that nature offers us.

Launching Aimée Ann Lou was not just about fulfilling a personal dream – it was about embracing my authentic self and carving out a space in the industry where craftsmanship, consciousness, innovation and timeless style intersect. It's a brand founded on the belief that luxury should be inclusive and empowering whilst setting a new and higher standard.

Azima Boot. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Azima Boot. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

What is the pricing strategy?

At Aimée Ann Lou, luxury is not just about overinflated price tags, it's about providing exceptional service and the experience of slipping into beautifully Italian handcrafted shoes that elevate your mood, style and conscience.

While our shoes are handcrafted in Italy with the finest materials and meticulous attention to detail, we want them to be within reach for fashion-forward individuals who value ethical manufacturing practices. That's why we've carefully curated our pricing to strike a balance between affordability and exclusivity.

We believe that everyone deserves to experience the elegance and craftsmanship of our shoes, so we strive to keep our prices honest and competitive within the luxury market.

Cleo Mule Red Velvet. Image: Aimée Ann Lou Cleo Mule Red Velvet. Image: Aimée Ann Lou

What is the brand’s goal for this year and next?

We want to expand our presence from the stylish lanes of the U.K. and trendsetting avenues of the E.U. to the chic streets of the U.S. These are our key focal points as I believe it's important for us to first establish a presence in markets that actively embrace and prioritize sustainable luxury qualities in brands.

While much of our marketing efforts have relied on organic growth and word-of-mouth referrals thus far, we recognize the need to amplify our reach and engage with new audiences.

To this end, we have recently forged a partnership with KRW Consulting, a marketing agency based in New York. Their expertise will enable us to connect with the modern woman in the U.S. and beyond, ensuring that our message resonates with those who share our values.