If the shoe fits, reinvent it

Less than 20 years ago, Zeha was a long-defunct company closely associated with the former GDR. Now it’s one of the most successful brands of shoe in Germany

27th January, 2019
Alexander Barré, co-owner of Zeha: ‘People love brands with a history’ Pic: Bloomberg

A dozen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Alexander Barré noticed a friend sporting shoes he recognised from his childhood in the former East Germany. They were “quirky and old-fashioned”, and seemed ripe for revival as a brand aimed at urban hipsters.

With no experience in the shoe business, Barré sought the advice of an 80-year-old cobbler who’d worked with Puma SE and Adidas AG. “If you had any idea...

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