Common Projects is a luxury footwear brand founded by Prathan Poopat and Flavio Girolami in 2004. Though the brand primarily operates out of New York City, its operations are based in two locations, with design and business operations taking place in the US, and production taking place in Italy.
Poopat and Girolami founded their brand after searching for a pair of premium casual shoes that would feel luxurious to wear without sacrificing any style or timeless appeal. The brand’s name comes from the fact that the duo often found themselves working on “common projects” together. They challenged a luxury footwear factory in Italy to create this shoe – supposedly the first sneaker that factory had ever created – and the end result was a completely unbranded sneaker not dissimilar to an adidas Stan Smith or Puma Gazelle. This shoe became known as the Achilles.
Since that time, Common Projects’ product range as massively expanded, and their line now includes silhouettes inspired by basketball, tennis and running models, as well as footwear essentials such as Chelsea boots, desert boots and loafers. In 2009, the brand has also expanded into womenswear, offering their most popular models such as the Achilles and Chelsea boot in women’s sizes.
Arguably the most well-known element of Common Projects’ shoes, as well as their only true form of external branding, is the series of 10 numbers found on the outside heel of each shoe. The first four digits indicate the article number of the specific shoe; the next two indicate the shoe’s European size; and the final four indicate that model’s specific color. In the brand’s early years, these numbers could be rubbed off if the wearer wished for their shoe to be completely blank, but they are now branded in gold foil.
All of Common Projects’ shoes are factory-made in the Marche region of Italy. The main factory used to manufacture the sneakers had only been used to make leather dress shoes before Common Projects owner’s Poopat and Girolami took over. All shoes are made by Italian leather and remain hand-stitched.
All Common Projects Chelsea boots run one size larger, and thus buyers are recommended to purchase one size smaller than usual; i.e. an EU size 41 would be recommended to purchase an EU size 40.
Use a brush or a cloth regularly to avoid the buildup of any dirt or stains; a solution of two parts water and one-part white vinegar can be made to clean the shoes – before being left out to dry in the open air.
It started through doing the men’s collection women’s shoes as the simplistic styles of the men’s shoes allowed for them to be universal. When a strong interest grew however, Common Projects started to create unique shoes for women in 2010.
Prathan Poopat & Flavio Girolami
Founding of Common Projects.
Introduction of women’s footwear.