It makes total sense that Andy Pierce would start an international unisex fashion label straight after finishing uni. With self-described styled as “preppy with an Italian influence” Pierce’s interest in shoes and apparel came at an early age. “My parents told me that I would want to wear my new shoes to bed when I was a little boy” he says. The result of his interest in high quality leather footwear and his time spent studying Italian at the University of Sydney is the birth of the brand Andy Tom; Pierce’s first and middle names – it doesn’t get more personal than that, now does it?
A luxury fashion label providing the highest quality men’s and women’s shoes and leather goods, all handmade in Italy, Andy Tom has been described as classic in design, timeless and representative of the elegant lifestyle of la dolce vita. With a focus on bringing a bit of the good life to Australia (and the rest of the world), making premium fashion available to the everyday man or woman is something Andy Tom embraces. “The idea for Andy Tom came when I was in Italy and I noticed one particular brand there (I won’t mention the name) that makes shoes very similar to mine that sell for exorbitant prices. I thought I would provide the same quality and style and sell them online, so that I can sell them at a more affordable price” he says.
Shaped by his parent’s art of casual chic, which is the “exact notion behind Andy Tom,” Pierce also cites Gianni Agnelli (the former owner of Fiat), Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly as influences when it comes to shoe design, colour and material. Each pair is handmade in Italy with every aspect of production truly local meaning the suede and leather are sourced in Italy too. “The shoes are made just outside a small village and the surrounding area can be described as picturesque, with green undulating hills. It sounds cliché, but it is truly like that” Andy says.
So how does one go about starting an international label? For Pierce it involved finding a classic model in Italy and then modifying the designs to suit his own personal tastes. “While business has been good, it was a really arduous road getting the business started. I had numerous problems in setting it up and it looked as though it was never going to happen. I think it took around 7 or 8 months just to get everything in place,” he confesses. “But I stuck at it, simply because it was a passion of mine and I really wanted to make it work and it has really paid off.” A few months after the launch of the brand and Andy admits that work doesn’t really feel like work. And why would it? With fashion shows to attend, working with an artisanal leather factory and picking products for the next range, he describes dividing his time between Italy and Australia as “the icing on the cake.”
Business is beginning to take off for Andy Tom, with the brand now servicing customers in Australia, the USA, Italy, Germany, the UAE and Switzerland. The global interest in his brand is a reflection on the painstaking attention to detail and quality that separates Andy Tom from your regular pair of retail pumps. I’m told that 2013 will most likely see the tentative expansion into other leather goods such as belts, wallets and handbags. He assures me, “All our products are and will be leather or will have leather details. All our products will always be made in Italy.”