3 Questions for Asos’ Aisling McKeefry

Asos.com is on the rise — and so is its shoe collection. With seven international sites, the London-based e-tailer continues to expand its in-house and branded footwear offerings.

“Over the last two-and-a-half years, we’ve seen Asos footwear grow from a very small collection that was based around going-out shoes like high heels and platforms,” said the site’s senior footwear designer, Aisling McKeefry, whose team now produces 350 to 500 styles per season.  “We’ve nurtured it and pushed boundaries and discovered we have quite a few customers out there.”

Asos’ on-trend pumps, boots, sneakers and sandals retail for less than $200, but the site also sells more than 50 footwear labels, including Sam Edelman, Frye and Opening Ceremony. Variety is key to Asos’ success, explained McKeefry.

“We have a global customer who always wants new and interesting things,” the designer said. “Our customer likes to go on our page every day and doesn’t want to see the same shoes. They want constant newness.”

Here, McKeefry talks inspiration, working with other brands and crafting shoes for a worldwide audience.

1. What inspires each Asos footwear collection?
We draw from everywhere. We shop the globe with the design team. We explore the major capital cities that are going to be great for vintage shopping and bring back all our treasures to get a flavor for how the season is going to shape up. But then we also look at blogs, exhibitions, films and books. We draw inspiration from here, there and everywhere.

2. How do you balance the Asos collection with other branded footwear labels?
[The other labels’ styles] have to fit next to the Asos [looks]. They have to complement each other. We want to offer the customer everything, but at the same time, we don’t want to do things that would in any way jeopardize our brands or … take away from what were doing. [The other brands and our line] work really well together, and we’re all working toward the same goal. There’s a mutual respect.

3. What’s your approach to designing product for an increasing amount of international markets?
The international [presence] is a relatively new thing [for us]. Over the last 18 months, things have taken off overseas and it’s gone so well. When we’re designing here, we have to think about winter boots, but we do separate [styles] for Australia. We know what each customer likes because we have our best and worst email each week to see what our girl in China likes compared with the girls in Italy or Australia. [Eventually] we’re going to build individual trend boards for each country, but because we’re based in London, that’s something that will come down the line.

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