Today we’re excited to share with you an interview we did with local fashion designer Kristina Kozak. While Kristina’s preparing her Spring/Summer 2011 collection, she took a quick timeout to answer a few questions. So check out the interview and some of Kristina’s design’s, we promise you’ll fall in love with these heels!
First things first, how and when did you get into the wonderful world of shoe design?
“Well, I’ve been interested in shoes since I can remember and I had always dreamt of designing my own but I never knew it was actually possible. It wasn’t until I worked at Louis Boston, where I was exposed to beautiful, almost art-like footwear and clothing, that I knew I had to find a way to design and make my own. I found a class in New York City so every weekend I would travel to take classes with Emily Putterman. She taught me everything there is to know. Originally it was just for fun, but after I made my first pair I knew it was what I wanted to do. That was in 2004 and I’ve been designing ever since.”
Having your own shoe line in this day and age is pretty impressive, how did you go about accomplishing that?
“Thank you… It’s been quite an interesting and enlightening journey! I didn’t follow the traditional route of going to fashion school and/or interning for a designer so I knew I really had to be resourceful. I did as much research as possible and then contacted everyone I could think of in the Boston area and tried to set up a meeting with them. I picked their brain and soaked up as much advice and knowledge as I could. I volunteered my time, worked for free, attended shoe shows and events where I learned and also networked. Those contacts combined with endless research and determination helped get me to where I am today.”
Your shoes are very bold and anything but ordinary, where do you get your inspiration from when designing them?
“My mom says I can find beauty in a pile of junk… so I guess that’s a big part of how I see things and it becomes reflected in my designs.
In a nutshell, I find inspiration from everything! Walking around the city, people watching, pieces of artwork, architecture, nature, old films and music never fail to provoke great design ideas. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but I truly believe beauty can be found in all that surrounds us. There is so much wonder in the world if you just open your eyes and allow yourself to see it.”
We agree, the world is a beautiful place. You mentioned you were working on Spring/Summer 2011 collection what can we expect to see?
“For Spring/Summer 2011 you’ll find my signature fun, quirky designs. The collection will feature a mix of high heels, kitten heels, and ballet flats in a variety of bold black and white patterns, neutral tones and bronze metallics, crystal and grommet embellishments, bow ties, and beautiful textured python leathers.”
Now that you’re working on your Spring/Summer 2011 collection what’s a typical day like for you?
“I wish there was such a thing as a “typical” day! But no such luck. The responsibilities for each day vary so every day is always different and brings it’s own challenges and opportunities along with it. Since it’s a small company I’m in charge of everything from designing to marketing to selling to shipping to contacting stores and replying to customers.”
Wow, it sounds like you’ve got your hands full. Out of all the shoes you have designed do you have a pair that is your favorite or a pair that is your ‘Sistine Chapel’ so to speak?
“This is a hard question to answer because all of my shoes are so different from one another. Plus they are like children. I love them all! But if I had to pick it would be the Gold Minx – 4” metallic gold Mary Janes decorated with mink tails on the back strap and a silk magenta ribbon closure. They were the first pair I ever made. After making them I realized that I had to follow my dream of designing shoes.”
Your shoes are absolutely adorable where can we find them?
“You can find my entire collection on my website (http://www.kristinakozak.com). Around the end of April 2011 they will be available at selected small boutiques such as Stel’s on Newbury Street in Boston and Surfaces in Marblehead, MA.”
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“Thank you so much for including me on your Open Runway Blog! It’s been wonderful to discuss my upcoming Spring/Summer collection. If anyone has any other questions or wants more information about my shoes you can contact me at email@example.com.”
Recently the Open Runway team went on the road for our first formal fit testing for our upcoming collection of DYO (design your own) shoes. The 200 women over at Communispace, a community-driven marketing agency in Watertown, MA, invited us to commandeer their cafeteria for the day and set up shop.
The event (aka The Great Shoe Try-On), took place to make sure that the shoes fit to true-to-size. Although we will be offering a full guarantee on all orders, we want to do everything possible to make sure customers are wowed in every way when they open the box of shoes that they created and that includes making sure the fit is right.
The response was outstanding; we couldn’t even unload the sample shoes before the ladies were all over them. Like sharks with blood in the water these women were ready to attack when they saw the hot new Open Runway styles! In fact, they spent so much time trying on shoes that productivity at Communispace actually dipped (sorry Commispace!).
Ladies of all shapes and sizes were in a shoe trying frenzy. Even the ones who didn’t have the right shoe size were trying to squeeze into the heels. We had lots of varieties to choose from including stilettos and wedges with leopard print, fishskin – all design options that shoppers can choose when designing their shoes using Open Runway’s online design studio. Our lime green wedges were definitely a crowd favorite “I’m a sucker for a nice pair of wedges, and these are so comfortable” said Charlotte Birkner, a Communispace team member.
While we were there to test the fit of the shoes, we also wanted to get some feedback on the Open Runway concept. Charlotte said “The ability to design your own shoes is great for someone like me. I have trouble finding cute shoes in my size, so the idea of being able to design your own sounds fantastic. It’s also perfect for those times when you have the perfect dress but can’t find the perfect pair of shoes to match.”
The event at Communispace reinforced that women love to express their personal sense of style. “I express myself through fashion. What I have on and how I present myself is very important to me,” said Lindsay Hutton, another Communispace team member. “That is why I really like the fact that I’ll be able to design my own shoes.”
The feedback we received was great, so thanks again to all you ladies at Communispace for taking time out of your day. Open Runway is going to be doing some more demos and focus groups. Interested in participating? Send us an email!
A guest blog post by Personal Wardrobe Stylist, Mahjuba
Fall 2010 brings us a luxe color palette on Footwear. Many designers are using muted colors of black, gray, dark blue, light purple and beige. Exquisite trimmings on Footwear are the highlights of this season. We are seeing details such as lace up, feathers, fur trim, leopard and zebra prints.
There are 3 particular trends that I am insanely mad about. These trends can instantly update your wardrobe essentials and help you stand out. The first being a Flat over the knee boot. This is a great look for walking around town shopping on a casual day. For a more fashion forward look, choose a high boot with fur trim. Last but not least, revamp your black pump to a Platform pump.
Some of the other styles seen on the runway for fall are extreme height, corrugated soles, booties, and leather and metal finishing’s.
Soon you will be able to design your own shoe on Open Runway. Go for trims and textures that represent your style. Choose a style that will bring your wardrobe to the next level. The best part of designing your own shoe is the individuality and thought you have put into your design. When building a shoe wardrobe I start with the classics. I then will add pieces that are right on trend and current. Building a shoe wardrobe is essential and takes time. At times choosing a fabulous stand out shoe is just as fun as choosing a fabulous piece of jewelry. It goes hand and hand.
Make the most of designing your own shoe and most of all have fun doing it.
Learn more about Personal Wardrobe and Fashion Stylist Mahjuba
We’ve let department stores and apparel companies dictate what was fashionable for too long. Now its time for you fashionistas to decide for yourself what’s in style. At Open Runway we’re all about democratizing fashion by empowering shoppers to co-create their own style and giving designers a community to showcase and sell their designs.
Open Runway is a fashion 2.0 retailer changing the way women shop via a social commerce experience. Open Runway connects shoppers to emerging designers through crowdsourced design contests, and empowers shoppers to customize and purchase their own made-to-order fashion using our interactive design studio. We’re starting with shoes but we’re not stopping there. Soon you’ll be able to co-create all sorts of fashion items including handbags, apparel and more.
Designers – are you looking to get your designs in front of shoppers? Submit a design to one of our ongoing design contests and promote yourself by sharing your creations on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, everywhere! Get your friends to vote for your design on OpenRunway.com. If your design is chosen by the Open Runway community and team, we’ll put it into production, co-brand it with your name, and sell it around the world.You’ll be awarded a cash prize and have your profile featured on OpenRunway.com.
Fashionistas – Didn’t go to fashion school? Can’t sketch? Not to worry! Not only will you be able to discover up and coming designers and vote on your favorite designs by participating in our design contests, but you too can have the opportunity to “play designer” by using our interactive design studio to design your own dream shoes and express your personal style. Choose from a wide assortment of styles and then make them your own by choosing your material, heel, trim and more. We’ll make your shoes to order and deliver them to your doorstep in just a few weeks. While you wait for your dream shoes to arrive, you can share your creations with Open Runway’s community of fashionistas and critique and comment on each others designs. Our idea is to build a vast vibrant community where shoppers and designers can interact with one another and define the brand.
We have a lot of exciting things in store for all you designers and fashionistas out there. Open Runway is getting ready to launch real soon so check back or join our newsletter at www.openrunway.com to stay up to date.