From 1923 and beyond … this is the year we celebrate a century of Darmanin Footwear.
Where We’re Coming From
When Agostino Darmanin opened his cobbler shop a few years after the end of World War One in 34, Brittanica Street, Valletta, the retail market revolved around small shops or ‘hwienet tal-merca’ which were much more popular and more contained in specific areas of the island, Valletta being probably the most popular one. When people bought shoes these were often tailormade and expensive, so they would make sure they lasted for a very long time, and thus, the cobbler was an essential service, at par to that of the seamstress.
Fast forward a few years to the onset of the Industrial Revolution and Agostino, together with his sons (2nd generation), progressed by importing footwear mainly from Tunisia and Italy and eventually opened one the first shoe stores in the capital.
Darmanin Brothers, later rebranded as Darmanin Footwear continued growing over the years – adapting to the needs of a changing market. Darmanin Footwear was and still is synonymous with good quality fashionable shoes and accessories.
The first post 2nd world war Darmanin Footwear outlet in St. John’s Square was a shopping destination for most locals visiting the city for their shopping needs. We are sure many of you have memories of your Valletta outings on a Saturday morning, shopping your favourite clothes and footwear, followed by a piece of cake and coffee in one of Valletta’s squares.
Once the 3rd generation children took the management of the company in their hands after the untimely passing of Carmelo in 1983, they understood the potential Valletta was offering and expanded their operations with the opening of a further two shops in two other main high street destinations in the capital. In more recent years, with other areas of the island developing their commercial activity, Darmanin Footwear kept in line with new shopping trends by expanding in other locations such as Sliema and Paola. The company also started expanding into new concepts of retail, thus giving start to Gallarija Darmanin and Teamsport.
Carmelo Darmanin (front) together with Austin and Paul Darmanin (back).
Where We’re At
Today, the retail market in Malta is challenging, with numerous shopping hubs and malls sprouting around the island. Foreign franchises are rapidly increasing in popularity, as the Maltese market remains a desirable location for those willing to invest in the retail market. Many people have turned shoes into accessories that help in enhancing the style of their outfit or match the occasion. Today shoes are available in a variety of designs and are also important for the aesthetics purpose. The concept of Darmanin Footwear is a simple yet ambitious one … that of having outlets not exceeding 150 square metres in prime retail shopping areas targeting the 20 to 40 year old age group with high quality branded footwear, bags and accessories in the medium to high price range. Brands are sourced mainly from Italy and Spain with special care given to high quality fashion brands. The outlets mainly stock women’s products, with a good-sized range of men’s products. Darmanin Footwear consistently strives in retaining its position as the country’s market leader in its segment. We pride ourselves in delivering an excellent shopping experience to our customers through our well trained staff, personal service and high quality brands.
Where We’re Heading
The current 4th generation who are taking over all operations are committed to ensure that the past 100 years are an inspiration for the next years to come. For us, this is just the beginning. 2023 is set to be a very exciting year for Darmanin Footwear, not only because it being a milestone year which makes us very proud of our roots and work over the years, but also because of several projects, big and small, we have planned for this year. This year already saw us open a new flaghship store at The Point with another new store opening in September 2023 … but we will let you wonder where this will be.
This year is going to be one to remember with many new and exciting brands in our Darmanin Footwear outlets, specials offers, competitions and gifts coming your way! So stay tuned on our website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram) and make sure to be part of this big celebration.