AGL – By Women, For Women

April Wan

Meet Marianna, Sara and Vera Giusti – the sisters behind AGL, the Italian heritage brand famous for the highest quality leather shoes with innovative design, created by women, for women. For AW23, AGL have collaborated with iconic supermodel Kristen McMenamy and stylist Katie Grand on an 8-piece capsule collection featuring elegant kitten heels, cowboy boots and chunky platforms, reflecting the different aspects of Kristen’s personality. We spoke to the Giusti sisters about what it’s like to run a family business, their all time favourite designs and the exciting new collection that just launched at Selfridges in London.

AW: AGL is a family owned, independent business, which you don’t often come across these days; and you are already the 3rd generation running the company which keeps going from strength to strength, do you feel like you have a legacy to live up to?
Giusti Sisters: AGL has produced Made in Italy footwear since 1958; we’re a contemporary brand, taking notes from current trends but carrying along the history behind it. As the third generation, we bring an important, unique and precious legacy approach to the process and craftsmanship. Today, the brand allows us to experiment with new stylistic solutions characterised by our personal and recognisable identies.
Moreover, to show our respect for the area where our factory is based, we control CO2 emissions, thanks to the ISO 14000 certification. We also produce all our shoes with clean energy due to the photovoltaic systems / solar panels that our factory has been equipped with since 2007. We pay extra attention to waste management, which derives from manufacturing processes. In fact, by producing everything internally, scraps are limited and up-cycled for creating other models/products. 
AW: Do you have childhood memories from watching your father work and visiting the factory in the region of Marche where AGL shoes are made?
GS: When we were children, during the Summer holidays, we used to play in the laboratories. We would use the remains of the shoe production, to start to creating dresses for our dolls. It was fascinating to watch the process of how shoes were made by hand. 
AW: The company was set up by your grandfather, Piero Giusti and then taken over by your father, Attilio, and now it’s an all women line up, how do you feel your approach is different from your predecessors?
GS: With the arrival of 3 women, the whole company has changed, moving towards greater openness to research and experimentation, which has given rise to new product categories, by approaching new markets for more significant business development. In addition, we pay extra attention to sustainability throughout every step of our work. Our female perspective has inevitably led to new approaches to design and innovation (in shapes and materials). Today, the collection is based on stylistic solutions that meet the needs of different types of women. More colour, new shapes and new soles every season detailed with a strong personality. Our 65% female workforce brings traditional know-how to the modern world. Moreover, 80% of the management team are women. T strong sisterhood bond is now an integral part of AGL’s DNA and is found in every professional behaviour of the company.
AW: The AGL slogan is ‘made by women for women’, can you tell us what that means to you personally and elaborate on this ethos?
GS: The contemporary, cheerful and multitasking woman has always been our source of inspiration since our goal is to design and produce comfortable shoes that are perfect for the busy life of us women. AGL is created by a team of women considering the needs of all intelligent, conscious and pragmatic women who dare to make their decisions autonomously. AGL products are women’s perfect allies, simply elegant and relaxed, not to go unnoticed, which make her feel at ease and attractive, thanks to their strong personality and the ideal combination of two opposites: feminine and masculine. 
Designing a shoe is not just creating a fashion product; it is a much broader commitment to technical study, courage in innovating and responsibility. We produce an accessory that is not only decorative but also functional and supports AGL customers’ steps in all their daily tasks.
AW: Can you describe your perfect AGL woman that you design for?
GS: All intelligent, conscious, pragmatic women daring to make their decisions independently.
AW: Do each of you take different roles when designing collections or is the process fully collaborative with all three of you involved in all stages?
GS: We work with 6 hands, but each of us has a specific role and responsibility: 
Sara – General Manager
Vera – Design and Creative Director
Marianna – Product Development Director
AW: For your latest capsule collection you collaborated with the iconic model Kristen McMenamy, can you tell us how this project came about?
GS: This project is so special for us. Steming from the desire to collaborate with different, innovative creative minds, from the desire to experiment.
An all-female group that has broadened its horizons and enriched itself with two fantastic women: Katie Grand and Kristen McMenamy.
Kristen with her coolness, energy, love for shoes and details encouraged us to think outside the box leading us into a world of wonders, a little dark and a little innocent.
Nothing would have been possible without Katie Grand who, with her sophisticated culture and intelligence, has been able to bring together the souls involved to produce an exceptionally contemporary capsule, which celebrates the freedom to always be yourself, the culture of the unexpected and the thousand facets of a woman.
AW: What are your favourite pieces from the collection?
Marianna:  I have a more romantic style and I love the purple pump with the purple rose K ONE.
Sara: I prefer accessories with an edge, like the pump with the chain K TWO.
Vera: I think I have more of a rockstar attitude so the bootie with the chain K THREE fits me best.
AW: You are launching the collection in London at Selfridges, can you please tell us why you chose to present it here? Does London have a symbolic meaning for you?
GS: Selfridges curates an edgy selection of contemporary brands and does a lot of research on novelties to propose them to its final consumers.
London is one of our favourite cities, reaching creativity and a crossroad of international creative talents. It was where the Capsule was birthed and designed, as well.
AW: I assume you’re all currently wearing AGL, please tell us which styles?
Marianna: Janis Moc in orange patent leather, rubber-finished platforms and heels, with 100 mm height, but 80 mm pitch, reflect the brand’s DNA and ongoing search for the Collection’s feminine and edgy side.
Sara: Original and exclusive with masculine appeal combined with feminine details, the gothic light, inspired Caro bikers feature a bold structure full of personality. A rounded and voluminous toe, thick leather sole and lugged tread. Maxi 60 mm rubber-finished spool heel, but with a flat fit.  Long laces threaded through a double row of metal loops wrap around the instep and ankle like a corset.
Vera: The K Five, Texans on kitten heels in purple colour
AW: AGL shoes are modern and timeless at the same time, what are your all time favourites?
Marianna: The flat loafers made with the “sacchetto” construction that fits like a glow and ballerinas
Sara: The chunky booties and loafer
Vera: The rock pumps, all season light booties and for summer gladiator sandals
AW: What’s next for AGL?
GS: We’ll continue to research and experiment with new solutions in creativity and technical elements to produce and design shoes with a strong personality, stemming from a mix of masculiniy and femininity. Exploring unexpected various colour palette, made with high-quality Made in Italy materials. Boots, booties, loafers and sandals are essential yet very light to the wearer. In some categories, the slip-lasting method gives the model extreme flexibility and a comfortable fit.
The AGL Kristen McMenamy Capsule is available exclusively on and at selected retailers.