WORDS BY FLORENCE TROTT | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANYA SANDUL
From social media savvy to thinking outside the box, our guide to hunting for designer treasure.
Amina Muaddi, one of the most popular shoe designers of the moment. Who will be the next big name in footwear?
There’s nothing like the thrill of discovering a designer. It’s like making a new friend that understands your preference for razor-pointed toes, and doesn’t mock you for being picky about details. We’d love to stumble across them every day, but with so much noise on the internet, it’s a jungle out there. Making discoveries can be as difficult as carving new routes through the forest in 5 inch heels. The key is persistence. You have to carefully curate the content you consume over time. Eventually, you’ll trip up on designer treasure. We’re not talking about discovering new designers for the sake of it – we’re talking about discovering new designers that you love and will continue to wear year after year. Fashion’s big sustainability problem is all thanks to its infatuation with ‘what’s new’. We’re the first to get worked up into frenzied obsession when we discover a new designer. To avoid flash-in-the-pan trends and buyers remorse, you have to be tenacious in your search and selective about what you invest in. Here’s how to strike new designer shoe gold.
#sorrynotsorry for dropping our own name, but we promise to bring you the best new and emerging designers every week. We’re obsessed with beautiful design, good quality and brand values, and will continue to diversify our offering and champion the best brands out there, big and small. Choose what platform suits you best, you will naturally find us on IG, FB, Twitter and Pinterest.
GET INSTAGRAM SAVVY
Of course, Instagram, AKA the digital time warp. You can spend hours on IG trawling through tags and accounts looking for something fresh. Finding new designers online won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. Start by editing who you’re already following down to those you’re really interested in. Then, diversify, and keep a lookout for fashion insiders, editors, retailers, stylists, creatives and, of course, designers whose aesthetics and values align with or compliment yours. Have online conversations with people wearing fabulous footwear. Engage and ask questions. In time, you’ll trip over the designer you’ve been looking for. Shoe designers tends to have inspiring personalities, like stylists and designer Ade Samuel who has her finger on the pulse on a lot of things, great shoes just being one of them.
MIX UP YOUR MAGAZINES
Now we come to the glossies. They’ll often feature smaller brands and new designers in the margins, but tend to be more commercial. Look to independent magazines for designer alternatives and smaller brands. Likewise, youth and sub-culture magazines will often dedicate more space in their pages for graduate and emerging designers. Find the magazines you trust whether digital or print – the job of an editor is to cut through the noise and highlight the pieces they know you (their reader) will love.
BE A FASHION WEEK STALKER
Wondering where insiders get their insider knowledge? Fashion week is the place to discover new and emerging footwear designers. Check out the schedules for accessories designers on each city’s dedicated fashion week page, and search listings for off-schedule talent. Runway accessories and shoes are often part of noteworthy collaborations, like Brother Vellies for Pyer Moss or Malone Souliers for Roksanda. Keep an eye on Instagram and street style tags, and check out all the new designer features that flood the internet post-show. As fashion week shifts into the digital space, we expect new designers to be even more accessible online.
KEEP A LIST
Whatever profession you hold, whether you are working in the fashion industry or just enjoy shopping without any affiliation, do some research and start making lists of the designers that interest you, follow them and find out what their brand ethos is. If there is anything we’ve learned over the past month, it’s that researching the brand before you invest your hard owned cash into, pays off. Fashion goes further than just making you look great, so make sure you know who you are voting for with your dollar. Apart from be aware of who you are supporting, you will be able to extend your knowledge next time someone asks you ‘where did you get those shoes from?’. Our list of black-owned shoe designers is a good start.
THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU SHOP
Keep hitting refresh on the new-in section of your favourite retailers, and make sure you’re signed up for newsletters – they’ll often feature new designers in editorials and emails. For alternatives to the big-name designers, look at smaller, independent boutiques that are more likely to stock lesser-known brands.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Trends are great, but as the word suggests, the next one will come along before you’ve truly gotten the deserved milage of your new shoes. Designer items are made to last, which is why we suggest looking into designers that produce made-to-measure shoes. Just as trendy, but with an exclusivity that is more of a luxury than a heavy price tag. Look into this previous article of three designers approaching the concept of designer shoes from a more personalised angle and weight in on what kind of values you would like to support.
Don’t follow the crowd. Self-knowledge is the best antidote to being a designer sheep. Knowing what you like makes discovering new designers that align with your style easier. Ask yourself who you want to be when you get all dressed up. Spend some time really interrogating your aesthetic, work on diversifying your wardrobe and look at the shoes in your closet that you wear over and over again and keep an eye out for designers that reflect that style.
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