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The Story of Rafaello

Rafael Allayev has been creating handmade shoes for almost his entire life. He grew up in Tadzhikistan (then part of Russia), where his father worked as a master shoemaker. Rafael worked as his father’s apprentice from age 7, learning how to make and repair all kinds of shoes and boots. In 1976, Rafael started his own business in Tadzhikistan and later went to Moscow, where he did a great deal of work for actors, entertainers, and the fashion industry.

Rafael opened his New York store in 1994, in the heart of the Garment District. He continues to create classic shoes and accessories, as well as designer pieces for the theater, musical performers, and fashion magazines. Besides shoes and boots, Rafael makes wallets, belts, watch bands, bracelets, handbags, portfolios, and hats out of leather; he also does repairs of all kinds. He specializes in exotic skins such as alligator, python, and ostrich. All of his pieces are made by hand, one at a time, in the Old World way.

Choose from our ready-made line of bags and shoes or design your own! Everything is hand-made one at a time, using meticulous Old-World techniques. Come to us for reparations or recreations of your worn-out shoes as well as replications inspired by your favorite designers. We offer the finest materials in the world, all from animals born and raised on farms. We offer 2-5 year guarantees on our fine skins including: leather, suede, alligator, crocodile, ostrich, deerskin, calfskin, pony skin, snakeskin, zebra, sharkskin, elephant, buffalo, stingray, kangaroo and more…as well as faux and vegetarian skins.

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