Satchel. makes a foray into footwear with Michael Grey Sandal Factory
Photography by ANGELA HOPPER-LEE
WITH DOWNTOWN DESIGN stalwart Satchel. celebrating 15 years of crafting beloved handbags and accessories, it seemed only natural that founder and owner Elizabeth Seeger might one day consider expanding the brand’s offerings. Thanks to a fortuitous connection forged with footwear designer Michael Mack at the Savannah College of Art and Design fashion show several years ago, fans have a new way to rep Satchel. on the streets: a new sandal collection, launched this summer, brings the brand’s signature leathers farther south to the feet.
Seeger and Mack, an accessory design professor at SCAD and founder of the Michael Grey Sandal Factory, had kept in touch as he relocated to Savannah with his company, which specializes in custom sandals like limited-edition Birkenstocks in one-of-a-kind artist prints. When Seeger and Mahala Lewis, Satchel.’s head of design and production, brought Lewis’ daughter to Mack’s studio for the custom shoe experience as an 18th birthday present, the idea to collaborate was born.
With experience in footwear design and manufacturing honed with tutelage in Italy and at companies like Steve Madden, Jessica Simpson, Vince Camuto and Roberto Cavalli, Mack brought in his expertise for the style of each shoe.
“I like to focus on utilitarian, classic silhouettes in my sandals. I’m not so much into chasing the fashions or trends, like over-the-knee gladiators that people don’t actually wear.” — Michael Mack
His pragmatic mindset shows in the final designs, six in total with a co-brand stamped on the sole of Satchel. and the Michael Grey Sandal Factory. Mack is partial to the Athena, a dressier slip-on that crosses over the toe, and to the Olive, a thicker, cross-strap sandal named after his daughter, which Satchel. brought to life in an everyday-wearable sycamore leather.
Seeger and the Satchelettes, as the company’s core team is dubbed, selected their favorites, then paired the designs with leathers from their spring collection — which means shoppers can buy a handbag to match and, presto, outfit made.
For Seeger, the Sienna in gold python with a buckle around the ankle is the collection’s must-have (and frontrunner for best seller.)
Lewis opts for a pop of color with a yellow python slip-on style that perfectly matches spring’s Roosevelt bag in the same bright leather, while general manager Mary Kate Polsinelli picks the more demure Christine, featuring alternating straps of mauve and black-and-white python.
“The three of us have different styles, so we represent our customer well that way,” Seeger says.
Since each Satchelette claims a different style as her favorite, that means no fighting over who gets to wear which pair at the shop (although they say they’d probably just give each other compliments and snap a pic for Instagram if they showed up in the same shoe).
The collection, which debuted in June at the shop and online, has since done a brisk business with additional colors available via custom order. Those who missed out on their size or preferred style can look forward to ongoing shoe releases: The collaboration is expected to continue seasonally, Seeger says, and Mack says he might even join the Satchelettes downtown as he scouts locations for his own brick-and-mortar shop.