3 Questions for Nasty Gal’s Sarah Wilkinson

After adding the fast-growing contemporary footwear line Shoe Cult to its already-robust in-house apparel and accessory mix for fall ’13, e-tailer Nastygal.com has had a busy year — and 2014 is set to be even more of a whirlwind.

“Putting shoes against apparel has made Nasty Gal even stronger,” said VP of design Sarah Wilkinson, noting the site plans to expand Shoe Cult’s style reach and overall price range in the new year, as well as introduce multiple footwear collaborations. “It’s about building a head-to-toe look. We want to give as many options as we can.”

The designer also discussed teamwork, trend-spotting and why Shoe Cult is eschewing seasonal merchandising.

1. Shoe Cult’s strategy calls for between 40 and 60 new footwear styles to launch each month, which is a departure from most brands’ more seasonal approach. What was behind this decision?
It gives us flexibility to add as many styles as we like, whenever we want to add them. [At] Nasty Gal, we do not want to do anything in the traditional way. We want to make sure we are always exciting our girl with new styles and bringing her the latest trends.

2. What are some of the most significant footwear trends on the horizon for fall ’14?
There are still going to be a lot of black and new neutrals coming through — dove gray and the pairing of black and white together. And there also is going to be an upsurge of over-the-knee styles. We have already seen that for fall ’13, but it is set to continue. There will still be a lot of heavy soles, like lug soles and creeper soles, on platform and flatform styles. Color is going to be really important — the evergreens, rich reds, purples and also metallics. There will be less Perspex [in heels and other detailing]. The materials are going to be more opaque, more translucent than transparent.

3. How big is your creative team?
We have a design team of 12 people, but we are still expanding across apparel and non-apparel. We work very closely with Sophia [Amoruso, our founder]. We love to hear her point of view and her vision, and I see her as a muse for the brand. I look at what she’s wearing and what trends she likes. Often I use her as a benchmark to decide what direction to go in with certain styles and trends.

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