A few smaller shoe labels are banding together in the hope that their individual voices offer mass appeal. The collective, called Walk This New Way, gives designers a platform to shore up production, work more closely with buyers and get shoes to the international market. Footwear designer Louise Bramstedt and Italian production specialist Annamaria Nerosi launched the project this year.
FN spoke with Bramstedt during New York Fashion Week about the venture that includes her own brand, Lobra, and other labels such as Gaspard Yurkievich, Akida, Violavinca and Gianluca Soldi.
1. What inspired Walk This New Way?
LB: [Annamaria and I] were talking about how the smaller fashion brands could be more visible in the international market. With my experience as a brand builder, I had some ideas. [And with her] experience understanding the need for clients and buyers, and how to secure production and more, it made a good team. It’s tough because sometimes when it’s just one designer, it’s harder to be heard. But as a group, when you go together with a stronger concept, it’s easier to get out there.
We wanted a group with different views, creative minds and artistic expression. Some may come from clothing and couture backgrounds, others are about graphics with heel details, some are minimalistic, others androgynous, some feminine and some very technical.
2. All the shoes in your collective are from Italy. Why is “Made in Italy” so important to this project?
LB: I love “Made in Italy,” as well as going to the factories and meeting the craftspeople. They love what they do. They’re making something by hand and they’ve been doing this for 40 to 50 years. They can see a difference that might not be visible to us because they know their craft. That is why it’s important to us: It’s important to speak for the craft and [that these are entirely Italian made].
3. What’s the future for Walk This New Way?
LB: We want more designers for our next season. We have an event [planned] for Milan Collections and hopefully we can develop in the future in Paris or Shanghai.