LUKURË and Arianit Bërdufi’s Journey from Vision to Reality

Arianit Bërdufi
Photo Credited to Arianit Bërdufi

“LUKURË shoes bring Italy to your feet, capturing its lively energy, burning passion, and breathtaking wonder.” – Arianit Bërdufi

September is a bustling month for New York City as it emerges from the summer lull with New York Fashion Week (NYFW) and the UN General Assembly Week in full swing. So, how does a luxury brand’s CEO find a calm moment when both demand collaboration and presence at their events?

Arianit Bërdufi, the visionary founder and CEO behind the ascent of LUKURЁ, a New York-based luxury footwear and accessories brand, says he recharges and draws inspiration from the ancient Greek and Roman sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Vision for Timeless Elegance and Contemporary Style

LUKURЁ was founded in 2012, with its Madison Avenue boutique opening just one block from the Met. Before founding LUKURЁ, Bërdufi had been going back and forth between New York and Italy, working in the luxury leather business. He yearned to build something that transcends and reflects his own ethos in every aspect – from aesthetics to leathers, craftsmanship, and intentional operations committed to quality and sustainability.

I wanted to create something modern that resonates with the times yet maintains timeless identity and elegance. I find harmony and beauty in ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. My aspiration for LUKURЁ’s shoes is to be as aesthetically pleasing and timeless as possible,” says Bërdufi, an Albanian-born and Italy-educated enthusiast of ancient philosophy and arts.

Birth of LUKURË: Leather that Redefines Luxury

The birth of a luxury brand that marries New York’s contemporary taste with the Italian soul of leather craftsmanship may sound like a cliché until one meets LUKURЁ’s leathers–of kangaroo and deer.

In 2007, while working with the leading tanneries in Italy, Bërdufi came across kangaroo leather and was immediately struck by its qualities. Distinct from conventional leathers like cowhide or napa, kangaroo leather possessed an extraordinary combination of attributes – supple, thin, lightweight, and astonishing robustness. “It was an epiphany. I envisioned kangaroo leather redefining luxury footwear, producing something beautiful and incredibly comfortable,” recalls Bërdufi.

LUKURЁ’s signature Soft Loafer, inspired by the premium kangaroo leather’s lightness and durability, is a testament to Bërdufi’s vision. Along with the finest materials, LUKURЁ’s dedication to time-honored craftsmanship shines through their meticulous Italian patina technique, ‘anticatura,’ a laborious process of adding layers of color polishes to enhance the depth and contour of the leathers.

Building a Legacy Beyond Fashion

Bërdufi, who studied law at the University of Turin, one of Europe’s oldest institutions, may have left the world of reasoning for the world of elegance and style, but his academic pursuits instilled in him structured thinking and a solid ethical foundation.

The choice of kangaroo leather and deerskin produces lightweight shoes and makes a step forward to sustainability. Bërdufi emphasizes, “Our kangaroo leather and deerskin are responsibly sourced from the overpopulated wild, which the governments strictly control. Kangaroo and deer are never farmed for fashion. LUKURЁ as a brand is intentional with its choices, and I believe that is genuine luxury.”

Making the Right Bet in the Peak of COVID

When asked about the challenges he faced in business, Bërdufi recounted COVID. In the fall of 2020, New York City and the world struggled with the novel coronavirus, challenging the experience-driven high-end retail businesses. The uncertainty drove many brands to optimize their real estate strategy and close stores, but LUKURЁ went the opposite and opened a new boutique in the Woodbury Common Premium Outlet.

“It was bleak and uncertain. But it was a rare opportunity for a young luxury brand like LUKURЁ to secure such a premium space in Woodbury Common,” says Bërdufi. That decision prominently placed LUKURЁ’s boutique amongst the top global luxury brands in Woodbury, giving exposure and visibility to international travelers as well as a new client base.

Energetic with New Ideas and Collaborations

LUKURЁ eagerly anticipates the future with its unique blend of style, craftsmanship, precious leathers, and an eco-conscious approach. The brand’s essence is of timeless elegance, but it welcomes fresh interpretations and introduces the Limited Edition Crystal Collection.

Staying curious about all possibilities, LUKURЁ collaborated with international fashion icons and designer labels, and showcased at VIP events during NYFW and UN Week in September. LUKURЁ is not just a quiet luxury brand; it brims with energy and creativity. 


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