3 Questions for Lika Mimika’s Designers

Lika Mimika is in experimental mode for fall ’14.

The 3-year-old Frankfurt, Germany-based brand has primarily focused on made-in-Spain espadrille styles with jute soles, but designers and co-founders Marijana Condic and Lisa Leipziger have added an array of silhouettes.

“While [espadrille-inspired looks] will always be a big part of our identity, we’re starting to experiment with new soles like the disco-esque foam platform on our [fall ’14] penny loafers,” Condic said of the label, which sells at boutiques throughout nine countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. “And we have new styles coming out that are a bit more seasonal, like the fur-lined desert boot and patent motorcycle boot. We’re definitely injecting a sense of adventure into this season.”

In addition, the label is taking its first step into accessories, with leather handbags in both toned-down and iridescent hues.

Leipziger said that Lika Mimika, which retails for $160 to $350 for shoes and $150 to $450 for bags, will push for a bigger presence in Japan and the U.S. over the next few seasons. “We launched with the hope that Lika Mimika would become an international brand,” she added. “We have a steady presence growing in the U.S. and are carried at some amazing retailers … so the natural next step is to continue growing here.”

The duo also discussed their design idols, how business intersects with friendship and why the espadrille endures.

1. How did you become business partners?
MC:
We’re childhood friends. We grew up together and we both take a lot of inspiration from our mothers, mine being more bohemian in style and Lisa’s gravitating toward the classics.
LL: We work very side by side when it comes to the creative process and business decisions. Our desks are next to each other and we travel together often. [We] are both mothers of young children, so we understand how hectic balancing family and the company can be.

2. What was it about the espadrille that sparked the idea for the brand?
LL:
[I came up with the idea while] I was coming home from a trip to Spain, where my family often vacationed during my childhood. Spain is where the espadrille originated and it kind of evokes a sense of nostalgia in me for those carefree summer days. This led to a conversation with Marijana, with whom I had always wanted to collaborate in a creative way.

3. Which designers do you admire?
MC:
Phoebe Philo, for how she brought Céline back to success with her special shape and color emotion; Marni because of the wonderful dresses and shoes Consuelo Castiglioni created without any formal training; [and] Missoni for being a family brand and keeping their incomparable, beautiful patterns.
LL: Jil Sander for her class and her endurance; Rei Kawakubo for being a visionary and for the fact that she still leads the company alone; [and] Alber Elbaz for his style, intelligence and humor.