We're always on the lookout for a fabulous shoe that catches the eye. And they need not always be the labels that walk down runways! We're super excited launch our our Designer Feature section, where we bring to you interesting designs and stories of upcoming shoe designers.
Today we're in conversation with Amy Ryan of A Christine Design.
Here's an innovative design and customized heel that we instantly fell in love with!
1.Tell us a bit about your brand.
I built A Christine Design on 5 core principles: artisanal craftsmanship, comfort and support, luxurious materials, innovative design and feminine strength and dignity.
I believe in valuing handcrafted, slow- made luxury products and in creating luxurious, comfortable shoes and heels for women. It is very important to me that my brand fills a gap I personally see in the high end women's shoe market: comfortable designer shoes. I think the idea that heels can't be comfortable, or that comfortable shoes have to be ugly, is just laziness.
I think that we, as women, have suffered through painful heels for long enough and it is completely possible to create comfortable luxury shoes and heels. It's all in the details of the construction, and to me it's absolutely worth it to spend extra time making the shoes comfortable for the wearer. The idea that heels can be exotic, luxurious AND comfortable is empowering to me, and I hope that any woman who wears my shoes feels that way too.
I also love to innovate in the style of my designs as well as in using technology, such as 3D printing, to create architectural heels. The 3D printed Crescent heel has been a fun challenge and I am planning to use that heel for future designs as well. I love to experiment with a shape and see what I can do with it.
2. How did you get into the whole shoe world and become a shoe designer?
I've been in love with art and making things since I came out of the womb, and became interested in fashion when I was about 6 or 7. I thought I wanted to be a couture fashion designer because I had been so inspired by John Galliano's couture collections for Dior- he was my hero.
But during my fashion design program at London College of Fashion, I had a tutor who encouraged me to focus more attention on my shoe designs- she saw that I had a natural sense for shape, color and materials, which are basic fundamentals of shoe design. I was also obsessed with leather and would design entire outfits made with colorful leather and zippers. Ultimately, I found that shoe design came more naturally to me and I loved the fact that you can be any body shape and still wear killer heels, whereas in fashion design it's more limiting in my eyes.
Shoes can be completely unique shapes and still be wearable. I also feel that luxury shoes are absolutely worth the investment, but I think it's harder for many people to spend that same amount of money on luxury clothing. You can wear jeans and a t-shirt with an amazing pair of heels and look fabulous.
3. What inspires your designs?
The female spirit and the female body inspire me constantly. I would like women to feel strong and beautiful when they wear my designs. I use a lot of curved lines which are inspired by the female form. I also take a lot of inspiration from nature and Gods beautiful creation, which features the most incredible flowing lines and such vibrant color combinations. There is so much creativity in nature.
4. What do you feel makes a good shoe?
A perfect silhouette, attention to detail, quality natural materials (nothing synthetic), comfort, great fit, durability, innovative design and an overall flattering addition to the female body- flattering and lengthening the legs and feet.
5. How does the process behind “Made to Order” Shoes work?
I make every single pair of shoes myself, by hand, using shoe making techniques that have lasted for generations. As soon as I receive an order, I begin the process of creating the shoes, which includes grading (adjusting) the pattern for the size needed, creating a mock-up (prototype) of the shoe, cutting out the materials by hand and completing all steps by hand. I promise my customers that their shoes will be delivered to their doorstep within 30 days from date of purchase (for US domestic orders). International orders vary depending on shipping time, etc
Drop by Amy's website www.achristinedesign.com for more looks from the designer's collection!