On Wednesday, Newbark co-founders Maryam and Marjan Malakpour were announced as the latest footwear designers to be selected to participate in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.
The L.A.-based sisters (who also moonlight as stylists for a host of music industry names such as Keith Richards, Cher and Shirley Manson) are known for their supple and chic approach to slipper flats, slides and loafers that are all made in California and have something of a cult following.
With the past two years’ winners including Paul Andrew and Aurora James, and fellow footwear designer Chloe Gosselin also joining the competition, the fund is clearly on the lookout for American-based footwear talent.
FN checked in with the Malakpours following the announcement.
Why did you decide to apply for the fund?
Maryam: “We felt it was the right time to in an attempt to get the support and validation for Newbark from those who we truly respect and look upon in the industry.”
Why do you think your application stood out?
Maryam: “During the process of making our application, we were able to find our true identity as a brand; and our purpose and future in the marketplace.”
Marjan: “Our authentic and individualistic point of view might have done the job.”
What do you hope to learn during the process?
Maryam: “We are so excited to gain the knowledge and expertise of all those on the judging panel and the mentors, as well getting to know our fellow designers in the competition.”
How do you hope this will help Newbark?
Marjan: “The overall recognition of our brand from just being nominated is a great beginning. We hope that the competition will expose us to new avenues that we have not yet ventured.”
Have you watched previous seasons of the show? Are you ready to be followed by cameras?
Marjan: “We have watched a few clips from a previous season. Of course we are terrified, yet truly ready for the ride.”
How are you celebrating?
Maryam: “Walking back to my hotel alone after the announcement ceremony, catching a breath, taking in the city and its endless dreams, almost being hit by a car, but safely making it to a fantastic celebratory dinner with friends.”
Marjan: “It still all feels like a dream come true. I’m celebrating with our family at home [in L.A.] and looking forward to this great journey and taking a vacation before the madness begins.”