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Talking to shoe addicts, part 1

25 Aug

Big time shoe collector Beth Shak interviewed by Amy Robach on ABC. It’s definitely worth 7 minutes of your time.

Watch the video here

Fashion Bloggers – Interview

5 Feb

Back in 2009, I did an email interview with bloggers I really admired in those days. A few weeks ago, I thought it’s time again for an interview, so I contacted a few bloggers whose work is absolutely brilliant in my opinion. Some of them answered, some of them were too busy unfortunately.

Nevertheless, I have four bloggers here who are really into fashion, but not in the same way – they all look at the world of fashion from a different point of view. I think that’s makes reading fashion blogs so interesting: one doesn’t get the same stuff on every blog.

I’d like to say THANK YOU again to these bloggers for taking their time and doing this short interview. I hope to have similar interviews in the future again. There’s nothing left for me to say other than enjoy!

Sarah of Pandora’s Box, follow her on Twitter: @s_whitney

Lekan of Le Big T, follow him on Twitter: @lebigt

Julia of Modelizing, follow her on Twitter: @juliachesky

Kira of KIRAFASHION, follow her on Twitter: @KIRAFASHION

1. What was your absolute highlight of 2011?

Pandora’s Box: Having my photo displayed on Forever 21’s electronic billboard in Times Square, hands down. I was shocked, proud and thankful all at once.

Le Big T: This is a tough one, as 2011 has really been an amazing and unforgettable year – so much has happened. I wrote a brief post about it on my blog, but I’d have to go with Lady Gaga’s meteoric rise to SUPERstardom. No wonder the Associated Press named her Entertainer of the Year for 2011. It’s the combination of the impact/success of Born This Way, her fashion-forwardness and multi-magazine domination, legion of devout little monsters, and more that no single soul could escape throughout 2011, and continuing into the new year.

Modelizing: There were so many wonderful highlights for me in 2011, I think most importantly is finally being able to juggle my work life and my personal life. It’s nice being something beyond a text message to friends.

Kirafashion: Animal print, no question about it!

2. Which was the best fashion event you’ve attended in 2011?

Pandora’s Box: I really enjoyed the Two Point Oh LA Snowball, I met so many LA bloggers! Meeting fellow bloggers is one of my favorite things about attending events.

Le Big T: Local fashion show (I was calling the show), in which my workplace donated our services for the event, along with other creative professionals, and all proceeds went to a local organization that supports LGBT youth. Great cause, great clothes, great fun. I put together the show soundtrack which was beyond words (Think Alex Wang meets Betsy Johnson – the models loved it).

Modelizing: I honestly don’t know, I really rarely attend events outside of shooting Fashion Week.

Kirafashion: A breakfast which I had with some local fellow bloggers, adorable people!

3. This year, which of your own posts is your favorite?

Pandora’s Box: It was titled “California Yeti”. Ryan really took his photography skills to a whole new level on this post! Plus, the furry coat I’m wearing in it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Le Big T: My favourite was one in which you had a mouthful to say, Dexter 😉

Modelizing: There have been 3 posts that are really dear to me. I loved posting Louis Vuitton this past year, they’ve been so incredibly on point and well thought out. Truly above and beyond most stores, especially on a global level vs. a local major department store. The Ostrich remains a favorite, McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibit in the Bergdorf Goodman windows was divine and really proved that you didn’t have to wait hours in line to see it [even though I saw it 5 times at the MET], and finally Tiffany and Co’s ice cream windows, fantastic!

Kirafashion: The one I produced wearing a fantastic satin kimono from Zara! It’s worth every penny.

4. Please name the shoe that is the “Shoe of the Year 2011” for you!

Pandora’s Box: I spent most of the year lusting over Rag & Bone’s Newbury Boot. I finally caved to its siren song and pre-ordered it for spring. I also got a lot of mileage out of Sam Edelman’s Louie Boot, it’s great combo of fashion meets comfort.

Le Big T: Prada SS11 Baroque Platform Wedges – Not only is it my absolute favourite shoe this year, but it really did embrace multiple themes/trends that were huge for 2011 (the platform, the brogue, the baroque, etc).

Modelizing: I love heels, I don’t own or wear any but I love shooting them. Realistically, the shoe of the year has to be the game changing Isabel Marant Willow sneaker. I’m so sad they’re overplayed now, but the fact that so many people in fashion ditched painful heels for a sick sneaker game is amazing. Their popularity has made me feel less out of place in Nike’s when I’m surrounded by heels.

Kirafashion: The one from a local designer called Gabi Fonseca. The shoe was inspired on the style of Anna Dello Russo, but for me it’s all about Star Wars and futurism. I’m crazy about it!

5. Which designer’s work are you looking forward to most in 2012?

Pandora’s Box: Rag & Bone and Isabel Marant are two current faves. Both lines have that “not trying too hard” vibe that I love.

Le Big T: I’d be a fool to not say Raf Simons, as he’s the current speculation to head Dior. I’ve always been a big fan of his work at Jil Sander and his eponymous line, as my style is inspired by his “minimalistic but with a twist” aesthetic.

Modelizing: Such a hard question! I try not to look forward to anything because I hate being disappointed. However, there are two houses that never disappoint me because they are so freakishly consistent. I’m dying to know what prints Akris will come up with next and where Ralph Lauren wants to explore.

Kirafashion: Stella McCartney and the style of the Yves Saint Laurent maison.

6. What are your goals, plans for 2012?

Pandora’s Box: I’d like to take my blog to the next level. What exactly that means, I’m not sure. But I’m excited to find out!

Le Big T: Ultimately, to continue blogging and writing posts that I think my readers will enjoy. Apart from blogging, I hope to solidify an internship opportunity in New York that was presented to me earlier this year, and continue to focus on building my career in fashion PR. Oh, and hopefully I’ll be able to attend NYFW or LFW in September 2012 – fingers crossed!

Modelizing: To maintain my new Yoga obsession and to keep shooting, building my skills and hopefully clients as well.

Kirafashion: Decorate my new apartment, keep dancing ballet and take my post-graduation course in fashion stylist!

7. What can readers expect from you in 2012?

Pandora’s Box: Great locations, rad clothes and if time allows it… more frequent posts!

Le Big T: There’s a few things I’m hoping to implement come the new year, including a weekly video – sort of an end of the week wrap up on what I saw/loved/hated; something along those lines. Also, I’m hoping to conduct some interviews with interesting industry insiders. Lastly, my readers can eventually expect a complete overhaul of my my blog, in terms of the layout/look, which I’m excited for. Stay tuned!

Modelizing: The same quality they’ve come to expect, a bit more than just windows, and the rest is up to where my life leads me!

Kirafashion: Sharp editorials about fashion emphasizing what’s going on here in Brazil, but connected with what’s going on at every corner of the world!

I hope you enjoyed it, see you next week!

Exclusive RenuRenu shoes!

25 Jul

Today would be a simple Polyvore day, but I thought I’d spice up this post by adding an interview with the talented shoe designer Dunja of Devianart, who’s behind the brand RenuRenu.

As for the Polyvore part of this post, I’ve made a small selection of shoes for you – just to drool over them:

Christian Louboutin, Charlotte Olympia, Rock and Republic / Proenza Schouler, Azzendine Alaia, Brian Atwood / Stella McCartney, Louis Vuitton and Stuart Weitzmann. More details here.


– Just to make it clear: what are you exactly doing, what do we see here?

– All of the images of my shoes are drawings made in an Open Source program called MyPaint, with a graphic tablet (Wacom Intuos-4S). They are “digital drawings”, and not, as it may seem at first sight, 3D models. I try to draw my shoes as realistically as possible in order to get the idea of what they would look like if they were actually produced. There is something very exciting about this kind of “virtual shoe production” since, just like with the real shoe production, you need to start with a sketch, and then proceed towards the constituting parts of the shoe, and finally towards the specific textures it will be made of.

– When did you start drawing shoes, how did it all began?

I used to draw shoes when I was a kid – I remember drawing a whole bunch of different platforms with flower patterns and chunky heels 🙂 Half a year ago while I was making a short break in work, I started drawing sketches of shoes again, just for fun. Since I am vegan and I buy only vegan-friendly shoes, it occurred to me that some of these shoe styles could actually offer innovative ideas for the market of cruelty-free shoes. Vegan shoes still rarely attract non-vegan customers, since for most vegan shoes, it is possible to find at least a similar one made of leather. In order to attract non-vegan customers, the market of cruelty-free shoes needs to offer unique styles. I’ve never heard anyone complaining about Stella McCartney’s shoes just because they are vegan-friendly. There are some excellent vegan-friendly materials nowadays which are both water-resistant and breathable. So making good quality cruelty-free shoes is, in principle, possible.

This thought pushed me to try and present my shoes in a more realistic way, so that we could see what cruelty-free shoes could look like, which is why I started drawings them with a graphic tablet. Then I decided to post them on Deviantart, where I received an amazing feedback: one of my shoes (Cat Boot) was chosen for the Daily Deviation award, and more than 1000 members of Deviantart favored it! That made me realize I am not the only one who finds my shoes interesting 🙂

– Do you think these shoes will ever get made? What are your (not secret) plans to make it happen?

– It would be great if my ideas would some day turn into real cruelty-free shoes, mainly because I think they could really contribute to the idea that shoes can be unique and yet not based on exploitation of humans or animals. But since drawing shoes is just a hobby of mine, I can’t afford to invest much time into looking for a potential producer or into acquiring appropriate education which would enable me to become a professional shoe designer. I got in touch with a certain shoe artisan, who could produce my shoes so maybe something comes out of that, let’s see 🙂 But even if they don’t get produced, I find making them in this “virtual” way still very exciting, maybe because they look so real, so that I can say: see, this is what cruelty-free shoes can, in principle, look like 🙂

– PhD in philosophy vs. shoe design? How does that work?

– Even though I enjoy a lot in drawing, philosophy is the primary area of my interests. Drawing/designing shoes (at least in the way I do it) is a great way for me to relax from time to time. Right now I am entering the final year of my PhD studies, which means I won’t have much time for drawing. But it can be a great break, after working for hours on a difficult subject matter, to just sketch a new idea for a shoe! Drawing shoes can itself be quite exhausting, but it’s a different type of work, and requires a different kind of engagement compared to working on philosophy, which is maybe why I find it to be a very nice hobby.

– Any other fashion related plans for the future?

– None that I can think of right now. I do plan to draw many more shoes though! There are a couple of new sketches waiting for a while already to be “virtually produced”, which I’ll draw when I catch some free time. I sometimes think of the kind of clothes that would fit the shoes I have made, but I think there are many fashion designers out there who could probably think of even more interesting ones.

Thanks to Dunja again for the interview, I hope you enjoyed it!

Check out her designs and if you have what it takes, get in touch with her to make all this become real!

Interview with the designer – norakaren of Etsy

25 Apr

During my (window)shoppings at Etsy, I’ve realized that it would be great to get to know some designers better. For this reason I’ve contacted the designer whose shoes amazed me the most so far and she was kind enough to answer my questions regarding her work. Without further ado, enjoy the interview and visit norakaren’s shop at Etsy!

THHT: How did it all start, why shoes?

Nora: I’ve been a painter/designer since I was a young girl seated on the porch of my house. In 2001 I started working seriously for a fashion designer and my first best seller was a pair of jeans made to commemorate September 11th.
In 2008 I opened my Etsy store based mostly on hand painted designs on fabric and I received a very unusual request on a pair of satin shoes. After that I loved the technique, the medium and of course the shoes (who doesn’t?) and the orders started pouring like rain. In 2009 I started a new line of hand painted shoes and it has been a complete success. I found this creations to be loved by womens who love style, by girls for their proms and parties and by brides for their themed weddings and it is my honor and pleasure to leave a piece of me in everyone of these events and it is an honor to participate in some way in one of the most important days of the women’s life.

THHT: How does the work process look like?

Nora: My work is defined by color, shine, glitters and fashion styles. I am constantly inspired by the graphic elements in nature and icons in every new design. The artistic process involves my mind, skills and emotions at the time to start a new pair.
At the moment I’m working with at least 5 shoe suppliers, 2 of regular shoes made of leather and other materials and 3 or more for the satin and dyeable shoes. After having the customer choose the style that fits her needs, desires and taste the most, we go together to the process of customizing what she has on mind and many times matching the design of the shoe with the themed wedding. I show them sometimes a rough about what it will look like made by hand or with Photoshop. Once we agree, my fingers start working on the painting (the artwork). The shoes take about 2 to 3 days to be designed due to many factors: one of the most important is the weather, they need to dry after dyeing and then after painting them.

THHT: Why are your products special?

Nora: When I started I don’t remember another designer of painted shoes around and now there are a few but still I feel like my products are first of all: one of a kind (I create all the designs one by one) they are a piece of art at your feet, unique and handmade. Those are some of the features that make them different from a mass-produced pair of shoes and also having the chance to wear the exact design you wanted on them. In my designs I try to display awesome moments in life, colorful places, creatures and most of all things that inspire me to live and let live a better life.

THHT: How is business going so far?

Nora: I’m happier than ever, can’t complain. I’m doing what I like to do and it gives me pleasure to create for the simple act of creating and much more when I can fulfill someone’s else dream.

THHT: Any plans for the future?

Nora: Yes, I’ve many plans. I want to start offering my shoes at Bridal and Signature Shows. I’d love to see them on a runway soon.
I want to see the business grow step by step and rejoice every day on what I’m doing and maybe in a not that far future having my own line of shoes.

As you can see, Nora is very versatile: whether you need flats-ballerinas, wedges, sandals, peep-toes or classic pumps, she’s got everything and I’m quite sure you won’t be in the awkward situation to see someone else wearing the same design as well. I want to thank Nora for the interview again, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Just because I know you’re eager to see more of her work, here’s the link again to get to her shop.

Have a nice and relaxing weekend!