Daniel Essa is a refugee success story. He arrived in France in 2014 fleeing the war in Syria, and now barely four years later, he is about to open his first shop in Lille, selling the luxury sneakers that have made his name and which are being snapped up by Hollywood celebrities, including A-listers like Whoopi Goldberg.
The 30-year-old Essa's shoes are already on sale in Beverly Hills, Paris, and Ajaccio on Corsica.
"In each shoe, there is a little word. For example, in this one, if we turn over the tongue, we find the word 'Peace'. Because I hope that one day we will have peace in our world," he says.
The average price for a pair is 330 euros.
"We saw that the war had started to reach Damascus. There were attacks almost every day and I saw my friends and many families starting to leave one after the other. It was difficult for me to take the decision to leave especially because I was setting up my workshop in Damascus when I decided to leave everything behind and go."
Daniel's grandmother taught him how to sew, but perhaps not how to tie his laces as his signature models use elastic, and the laces are just for show.