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TEN & Co. Shoes
Colorful, vintage Moroccan rugs sewn into handmade unisex oxfords and two new styles this fall
by Nara Shin
on 14 October 2013
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After a trip to Marrakech, Tory Noll was hooked—on the bold, multicolored rugs and blankets she found in the open-air marketplaces. "I've always been obsessed with pattern and textiles, and rugs have been an idle passion of mine for some time. I went to Morocco for work and brought back a pair of oxfords I had made with some vintage Moroccan pillows I found in the souks," says Noll. "I thought it was a fun alternative to leather—so did other people because I got compliments on them whenever I wore them, from friends and co-workers and random people on the street." Taking note, Noll started TEN & Co.—TEN because of her initials—to bring the colorful patterned shoes to the rest of us stateside.

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Noll—who also works as a freelance prop stylist and is based in Brooklyn, New York—has a lot of free time in between projects and decided to start the company as a side project. "It may sound strange and non-entrepreneurial, but I don't have an ultimate goal to start a fashion empire or anything like that; if I'm having fun and not losing money, I'm happy as a clam," she says.

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After hunting for fabrics in Moroccan flea markets, auctions and shops, Noll then takes the goods to a cobbler in Marrakech, where a marriage between vivid North African patterns and colors with classic Western shoe forms takes place. Because each style is made from a single rug or woven blanket, only a small number can be made—ensuring that the pair you have your eye on won't be found elsewhere.

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For this year's FW collection, Noll made nine styles and added two new shapes—the flat and the bootie—to join the classic oxford. "My aim was to make more of a cohesive 'collection' and not just a random assortment of pretty textiles," Noll explains. "I wanted to keep all the silhouettes simple and not overly-designed. The rug tells such a loud story, I like having the cut of the shoe stay a little bit quieter. I also wanted to add styles that are still pretty unisex, like the oxford is, because I want anyone to be able to wear them. I've been pleasantly surprised by how even the split is between men and women who buy my shoes."

The shoes range from $160 to $250 and can be purchased from TEN & Co. online.

Images courtesy of Rene Cervantes

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