By Audrey Williams
If you peek in any stylish woman’s closet, you’ll notice that amidst a curated selection of signature pieces lives an enviable collection of beautiful shoes. Shoes, perhaps more than any other accessory, play a defining role in a woman’s wardrobe.
This is exactly why Betzabe Gonzalez and Carolina Lujan, two women with a unique love for shoes — from their history to actual design — came together to found the new Italian-inspired shoe brand Mia Becar.
Gonzalez’s fascination with shoemaking started when she was a 10-year-old in Mexico, spying on a friend’s father hand-making shoes in his courtyard. Years later, when she and Lujan met through mutual friends, the seed for starting a shoe company was planted.
“I picked up a book called Shoes A-Z and I saw the name of the school Ars Sutoria in Milan,” says Gonzalez, “so I asked Carolina if she would be interested in taking a shoe course in Milan.”
“She had lived in Florence for two years and loved it, so she says, ‘Of course.’”
With Italy as the world-renowned capital for beautiful, handcrafted shoes, they both agreed it had to be the birthplace of Mia Becar. “They’re so precise in their detail, and that’s what inspires us creatively,” says Lujan. “It’s not just design,” adds Gonzalez. “It’s the whole production process. The generations of artisans and history there really fascinated us.” Once they got to Ars Sutoria, they were able to learn about the process firsthand. Regional specialization is common in Italy, so they toured numerous factories throughout the country before carefully selecting the ones they felt could best produce to the design and quality standards they were looking for.
The pair showed their first collection as a project. “It really solidified that this was what we wanted to do, and that we were going to go full force,” says Gonzalez.
To stand out from other shoe brands on the market, Lujan knew that Mia Becar had to have a special voice.
“We have different types of shoes for different types of women,” she says. “Betzabe is a mom, she’s always on the go and always looks fabulous and presentable, so we kept that kind of woman in mind. She’s working, she’s on the go, maybe she has a family, maybe she doesn’t, but she definitely has a career.”
As a wife and mother of two, Gonzalez hopes Mia Becar’s designs will be an extension of their personality and make all women feel beautiful.
“We want to have a little bit of everything because sometimes you want to feel really feminine, sometimes you want to feel on the fancier side,” she says. “That’s how we design.”
They also pulled inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Gonzalez calls herself a Marilyn Monroe, whereas Lujan is more of an Audrey Hepburn. However, one source of inspiration they both share comes from their heritage.
“The great Mexican actress Maria Felix is an inspiration for both of us,” says Gonzalez. “Of course, we constantly think of our Mexican heritage.”
As far as styling their Mia Becar designs, versatility was also at the forefront. Gonzalez believes each shoe can be worn just as easily with a skirt or a dress or jeans and a T-shirt. Lujan agrees.
“We designed the shoes to elevate any outfit,” she says. “Wear them with anything that makes you feel good.”
The collection is launching with 12 new styles, with monthly releases in new colorways along with a few new styles to follow. In the future, they also plan to include capsule collections to give every woman an opportunity to discover new designs.
For now, Gonzalez’s favorite releases — which she sees becoming the brand’s signature styles — are the Betsy, a glamorous platform sandal with an ankle strap and a bow, and the Marilyn, a versatile day-to-night mule that also has a bow.
Together, she and Lujan have seen one of their lifelong dreams come true, and Gonzalez says they have no intention of slowing down.
“We are loving every part of the process of it,” says Gonzalez. “It’s been such an amazing journey, a long one, but amazing.”