There are certain shoe designers who radiate individuality within their work. To be able to do this – and mix it up with beauty and vintage inspiration is my idea of heaven !
Chie Mihara started out in 2002 and now ten years on, stocks her shoes, boots and sandals with over one thousand clients worldwide, including Selfridges in the United Kingdom and Neiman Marcus in the United States. She even has a really pretty and distinctive bridal range.
I have been a bit of a fan of Chie Mihara for some time, so am pleased to be sharing some of her inspirations with you today…
How did you originally get into shoe design ? Was it always a dream of yours ?
I was always into fashion. For me, shoes was a big unhappy story because I could never find a shoe that I liked for my 40 feet… but never thought I would be a shoe designer !!
Being into fashion takes you to all it’s areas.
Can you tell me the process from design to actual fruition ?
The longest process is the searching. I go to the shoe museum and look for images from different decades, also look for my fashion and accessories book archive I hold in my studio, do trips to Paris, Milan and look around what´s cooking…shops, movies, music, everything is feeding your mind with information.
Later I start defining last shapes, heel shapes, soles, platforms…go to leather fairs in Milan and Paris to see and buy from the tanneries. Once you get all these information you can start drawing…that can take three to four weeks…
Then you pass the catalogue finished with all details to the factory, once the patterns are made. The factory makes the samples and now we are ready to show to our customers from all around the world. we do fifteen to eighteen fairs per season and from the selling season we go to production time, that could take another three to four months until the stores would receive the goods to sell..
How many seasons ahead are you with your designing ?
I finished summer 2013 a few months ago. Right now for example, I am working on the fall 2013 /14 wich will be shown in fairs of early december through march and the shops will have it delivered by July / August.
Are all of your shoes handmade ?
Yes. All shoes are hand made. even in China ! but of course the process we use here in Europe is more hands on and little details are watched carefully.
Which era’s do you draw inspiration from ?
I love the 30´s and 40´s because it was a very down to earth times and fashion was very utilitarian. Also enjoy the late 70´s and early 80´s for the fun and funky of disco and the explosion of youth.
What would you say sets your style aside from other shoe brands ?
Comfort and the very personal style. I never look to what other brands are doing, I dont care. I only look and work for my never ending joy of creating ! can´t allow myself being too comfortable or relaxed, I have to be hungry at all times !
Do you like to listen to music when working and if so what inspires you ?
Always ! music carries you to another state of mind…sometimes when I´m creating, I repeat the same cd over and over again…
With your shoes stocking in over a thousand stores worldwide now, this must keep you super busy! How do you relax when you get the time ?
I have three children (15, 13 and 11) and my husband, we do lots of things together. I have a very balanced life. I don´t live in a big city, we are sorrounded by mountains and the beach …we are in the mediterranean, its really nice.
But, I´m a very active person, I don´t know what´s relaxing and watching tv…never do that.
I take work on weekends and thats relaxing for me !
How long have you been designing wedding shoes as well ? They are stunning :)
Thanks ! I started wedding shoes four or five years ago…it was an easy choice, because my shoes are already romantic. Some clients would do the white combination and i decided to do it myself.
Could you give a bit of advice to new designers out there ?
You have to work hard on exploring your creativity. Develop techniques to get more original ideas and concepts. Don´t copy other designers! keep your personal integrity ! be original !
Good looking shoes designed by a very inspiring woman ! Thanks so much, Chie.
I love the fact that Chie focuses on her own idea’s and remains unique !
You can follow Chie Mihara on Twitter – @ChieMiharaStore, become a fan on Facebook and see more designs right here.
All images copyright Chie Mihara 2012.
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