Your beloved Kathryn Wilson shoes are developed through many processes before becoming the most loved shoe you have in your wardrobe. Beginning with just an idea, and a pencil on paper sketch, your favourite footwear is hand-made with love and care every step of the way
We chat to Julia, our Creative Director and Alice, our Design & Production Assistant who work closely with Kathryn each season to create your perfect pair of Kathyrn Wilson shoes...
What inspired you to become a footwear designer?
Julia: A lifelong obsession with beautiful accessories lead me here…that and a lot of hours sketching in front of fashion tv as a child. I remember being told off at school (maybe 7 years old?) for drawing shoes all over my maths test…so the inclination has always been there.
Alice: I have always been interested in fashion, specifically footwear and accessories. When studying at university I knew this was the area I wanted to focus on and I am very happy that I have been able to have this opportunity at Kathryn Wilson Footwear!
Take us through your design process
Julia: Generally we do a lot of research throughout the year and study what types of styles or details customers are responding well to… Then I usually get busy sketching ideas and present my sketches to Kathryn and the team. We always end up with far too many concepts and designs so the most difficult part is narrowing down the selection of styles. Pre-covid my favourite part of the process would be sourcing the leathers and trims at the markets and be inspired by all the incredible materials available there. Nowadays, we have to be a lot more specific as we are asking suppliers to source what we are looking for, on our behalf. This has added new challenges and ways of working but always sparks new ideas and inspiration.
Alice: Collectively we all start with gathering our inspiration, whether it could be a colour, material, or an object from your favourite artist, inspiration can come from anything. Then comes the paper and pencil, once these designs are all drawn up they are presented with each other and discussed or refined. When the options are narrowed down, they are sent off for sampling. Every sample is tried on by almost all of us in the office so we can assess any changes that are needed for comfort, making the perfect shoe for you!
What's your favourite shoe this season?
Julia: My must-have shoe of this season are the Maya Heel in Acid, I love the dark wooden platform and heel…that is a truly timeless style in my opinion and I know I will wear it for years to come
Alice: Very hard decision.. I think my favourite shoe of the season has to be the Alice Heel! The perfect heel for day to night
How do you plan to incorporate more sustainable materials into this new season
Julia: We have been working really hard on sourcing more eco-friendly materials to incorporate into the footwear and accessory collections. This season we have sourced flatform soles from a sugarcane based EVA and used neoprene made from recycled plastic bottles for the upper, which is really exciting! I’m headed overseas this month to meet with suppliers of traceable and chrome free leathers and other new eco-friendly leather alternatives, so I’m excited to see the new materials we can hopefully include in future ranges.
Alice: We are committed to doing things better, and constantly educating ourselves, and evolving our products and processes, to reduce our impact on the planet, there are new styles being introduced to our KIND range this season which we are excited to launch instore soon!
Who do you garner inspiration from?
Julia: I like watching old movies or music docos when I am wanting to get inspired!
Alice: My biggest inspiration would be my parents, the hardest working people I know, They have taught me so much and will forever be the people I look up to. A couple of brands that I am inspired by would definitely be Chanel & Jacquemus, I love their iconic style and leading creativity. Other places I would look to find inspiration could be movies or tv series, reading books or shopping
What's your favourite piece you have designed
Julia: For the pre-xmas delivery we have expanded on the much-loved Zsa Zsa heel by creating a capsule of styles that all feature the pleated bow detail…We have a stiletto Veronica heel - coming soon, a more refined heel with no platform and a square-toe Monroe Heel - coming soon and even a mid-height version for those ladies who don’t need the added height Mae Heel - coming soon.
These styles are all coming in metallic leather and pleated textiles which looks ultra-glamorous, very ‘’old hollywood’
Alice: My favourite shoe we have designed for Summer is the Plaza Heel. I love the sculptural silhouette of the heel and plaited/textured panels across the front - tres chic
Shop Summer 22 new arrivals here