When Miranda Selwyn dances and mingles at a concert, she’s also thinking about work.
The senior designer at Seychelles and BC Footwear is an avid concertgoer, regularly attending everything from full-day music festivals to one-night performances at L.A. hotspots. It’s a passion that has always been closely associated with a love of shoes — and one that now inspires her work as a designer.
“When I was little, my dad and I would put on music and I’d dance in my mom’s high heels because I liked the noise they made,” recalled Selwyn, who attended the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles before starting at the brands eight years ago. “I’ve loved shoes since I was 3 years old.”
Fast forward a few decades and Selwyn now attends concerts a few times per month. Most recently she went to the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in California to see Radiohead, Florence & the Machine and Gotye, among others, and next she’s planning to hit the Hollywood Bowl’s world music series — all while working full-time to create the two footwear lines, which have a similar design aesthetic.
Indeed, Selwyn said, the culture at music festivals is fortifying as an artist, and everything from the bands and their fans to the venues combine to make a creative setting. Design and music have always been closely tied, and for Selwyn it’s no different.
“I love outdoor festivals and the environment there. It’s a way to see fashion and be inspired by the music,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for people watching.”
As a result, the designer often brings along a notebook to jot down ideas.
“It’s really easy to have inspiration boards be black and white, but when you get into the world you see people put themselves together in a really creative way,” she said. “There is so much inspiration to be had by combining the essences of the music and the environment.”
Specifically, Selwyn started to notice a mod, 1960s look resurfacing while at shows, and she decided to create styles for the fall ’12 Seychelles collection that would complement the apparel trends. These included ladylike pumps and block heels.
“It’s everywhere, with 1960s-inspired music and ‘Mad Men,’” she said. “So it’s about gathering a sense of the [current] culture as a whole.”
And because day-long shows usually require hours of standing, Selwyn said her experiences have fueled various design ideas about providing a comfort focus.
“When you’re at a festival, you want to be stylish, but you have to brave the elements, so comfort is key,” she said. “That ties into our brands. We don’t make uncomfortable shoes. I always think about the best shoe you could [wear to] dance all night.”
These days, traveling for work has broadened Selwyn’s love of music and given it a new scope. While in Tokyo for a recent business trip, she connected with an old friend who put her on the list at a nightclub to see The Keystones perform. And with a home base in Los Angeles, Selwyn regularly attends gigs at The Roxy Theatre, where she recently caught a Little Dragon show.
“It’s such an incredible venue. It’s one of those places that has such an old Hollywood feeling,” she said of the famed nightclub on the Sunset Strip. “What I love most is it allows a traveling circus to come in — any fan group or band.”
Now the designer is putting the finishing touches on the spring ’13 lines for Seychelles and BC, and gearing up for the trade show season. But she’ll still make time for Outside Lands, a San Francisco music festival in August.
“The [concert scene] motivates me to be one step ahead and create exciting, comfortable and culturally relevant footwear that can keep up with [our consumers’] exciting lifestyles,” Selwyn said.