The Spring is all about keeping it fresh and when it comes to updating your closet, we always have to introduce a few pairs of sneakers into the mix, We sat down with founder, Belieni Stevens of BELIENI. His line is comprised of luxury Italian sneakers that are truly ways to elevate the athleisure style.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your fashion background.
BELIENI: My fashion background started when I made the decision to start a men’s line of footwear.
AM: When did you realize that you wanted to create your own line?
BS: I have honestly always wanted to start a men’s line. I was just fed up with the limited options out there for men and young men with larger feet, who wanted something other than basketball or skate shoes to wear. I love luxury sneakers and dress shoes just as much as basketball shoes, but the number of luxury brands that cater to 14 and above are small.
AM: Why are you inspired by Italian Craftsmanship?
BS: Italian craftsmanship and design are second to none, just the heritage alone is enough. Today, companies are using their materials but crafting them in other countries. I am old school in the idea of why fix what isn’t broken.
AM: Fashion has so many categories within it. What is it that speaks to you about footwear and that you felt that you could create something that wasn't there?
BS: Nothing comes close to bringing an outfit together quite like the right pair of shoes. You could have on the nicest, most expensive outfit, but if you have on the wrong shoes, you might as well be naked.
AM: Tell us about Belieni and what celebrities have worn the brand?
BS: Michael Thomas, Jared Cook and Masika that I am aware of.
AM: What celebrities would you like to see wear the brand and what collaborations would you like to see?
BS: Personally all of them..but to name a few Jay-Z, Wale, 2Chains, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, Idris Elba. I would love to collaborate with Bentley and Tissot.
AM: Tell us about the assortment and will there be new offerings this Spring?
BS: Yes, we have already released 2 new color-ways this spring. We have our low tops that we will be unveiling later this year as well.
AM: What additional items do you see being included within the Belieni brand?
BS: I am working on backpacks and possible apparel, I am still playing with that idea.
AM: Who is the Belieni girl/guy?
BS: Well… I guess that would be me. I design both the men and women’s lines.
AM: When you're not designing and working on this line, how do you take time for yourself?
BS: When I can find time, I draw and design no surprise, jump on the sticks when I can and ride my motorcycle to the coast.
AM: Where are you based out of and where do you enjoy grabbing a meal, working out and shopping?
BS: BELIENI is based out of Florida. I love Sushi, Sushi Katana is one of my favorite spots. Even with my busy schedule, I try to hit the gym at least 5 days a week.
AM: What is currently on your playlist?
BS: Future, Kid Cudi, Wale, Nipsey, Steve Aoki and Morten.
AM: How important is giving back and what do you do in terms of philanthropy/charity?
BS: It is very important, I volunteer at my local VA (Veteran Affairs) , and donate when I can to Ocean conservation organizations.
PHOTOS COURTESY | BELIENI