3 Questions for Newbark’s Designers

Sister act Maryam and Marjan Malakpour live for the simple things in life, although quality always counts.

The stylists-turned-designers started in 2009 with one look — flat foldable shoe — and have since grown it into a full collection of footwear and handbags, all of which exemplify the original chic and easy-to-wear aesthetic. “We were both working as freelance stylists and noticed we wanted a different kind of flats, not just ballet styles,” said Maryam Malakpour.

The sisters showed the line at New York Fashion Week for the first time for fall ’12, and they now have a retail roster that includes Bergdorf Goodman and Five Story in New York; Maxfield in Los Angeles; Forty Five Ten in Dallas; Blake in Chicago; and Louis Boston. Prices range from $425 to $1,360, with bags retailing from $385 to $1,460.

Here, Marjan Malakpour shares the latest from the growing brand, including expanding the men’s line and possibly opening a branded shop.

1. What’s new for fall ’12?
The name of the collection is Highland Dreams. It’s Scottish Highlands meets urban city meets country life. Our woman lives in all those different environments — or wants to — and our collection is always about functionality for women on the go. Of course sparkle doesn’t hurt. Other new updates include an all-weather sole, fully lined shearling and rabbit-fur boots, gaiters that fit on any boot style to change the look, and a loafer with a 5-millimeter heel.

2. And you made a video to feature the new line?
It was shot by filmmaker/director Samuel Bayer on film. Afterward, it was hand tracked to look like it was shot with Super 8 film. It’s a very cool treatment. We shot on location [with model Michele Ouellet] in downtown Los Angeles to capture our roots and our look. Luckily, we got the perfect rainy day and it all came together very well. 

3. How are you plotting your continued growth?
We’re in our sixth season, and we’re still based in Los Angeles, where the collection is handmade in four factories. The boots are made in the same factory where police and firemen boots are made, so obviously they are very hard-wearing. We have expanded the boots and also plan to add to the men’s collection. We started with the split-sole slip-ons, but we’ve had such an amazing response as we grow and add categories. The next step is to open our own shop.

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