Every morning, Michael Tonello makes himself a cup of Earl Grey tea and goes online to scour the all corners of the Web for vintage Hermès scarves. But Tonello is not a collector—they are actually for his espadrille brand, Respoke, which repurposes vintage silk scarves (also from brands like Gucci, Pucci, and most recently Alexander McQueen) into luxury shoes, entirely handmade in Spain.
“The more important thing, in some ways, is finding scarves that are in perfect condition. We don’t want scarves that have lipstick stains on them, or perfume stains—any kind of stains, for that matter—holes, or pulls,” he said of the challenges of shopping vintage, also noting that interesting or recognizable patters are a must. “We want things that are sort of iconic. We want things that are colorful and fun. We want things that have a lot of pattern on them, so that there’s a lot going on on the espadrille.”