Alexandra Davis of Cobra Society

A Minnesotan finds her design inspiration in Morocco.

Alexandra Davis of Cobra Society
Photo by Stephanie Colgan

Boot obsession — Alexandra Davis, the 26-year-old creator of up-and-coming luxury footwear and accessories brand Cobra Society, has lived in Boston, Los Angeles, and New York. She studied in Morocco; she interned in London and Paris. But no matter where in the world she is, there’s no denying that Davis is a Minnesotan at heart: She loves boots.

“I wear boots every day, all year round,” says Davis, whose silky long locks and effortless style make her the envy of every girl in the room—even without her tribal print, slouchy over-the-knee boots. But it’s always about the boots.

Davis received her first Frye boots when she completed middle school, and she got another pair for graduation from The Blake School. Davis studied international relations and French at Boston University and thought she might like to be a diplomat. Along the way, she found fashionable footwear to be a surer bet for bridging cultural divides. Good boots are a language that requires no interpretation.

North African Influence — Davis was on a summer program in Morocco when she discovered traditional kilim hand-woven rugs. Inspired by the native designs, colors, and textures, Davis envisioned the fabric on boots. After college, she spent some time working in the fashion business, both on the design side and public relations, but soon found herself drawn back to Morocco.

With some seed money from her parents, who live in Wayzata, and the help of a professor, Davis identified a village in the Middle Atlas Mountains where artisans could make rugs that would adhere to leather. While the fabrics are woven in Morocco, the actual boots are constructed in Spain, in one of just a few factories that does Goodyear welt construction—the gold standard for quality. “I wanted a feminine cowboy shape,” Davis says. The result is a distinct look at once exotic and familiar.

BootsCobra Society’s fall 2012 collection was inspired by Greece

Next steps — The boots, which cost upwards of $700, were an instant hit with fashion editors around the globe. Celebrities have embraced the young brand as well—Jessica Alba even paid full price for a pair, Davis dishes. Cobra Society is sold on designer shopping site and at high-end boutiques—none in the Twin Cities right now, but Davis treats her hometown fans to a trunk show at least twice a year.

Now in her third year of design, Davis is branching out with loafers and leather bags. She’s moved beyond the browns and reds of traditional kilims to saffron and blue. She travels monthly to Spain and Morocco, and when not there in person, she spends her days on the phone, from one time zone to the next. “It’s like the United Nations at my office,” Davis jokes. It’s not what she imagined as an undergrad—just so much better. — A.K.