Inside the New Collaboration Between Mara & Mine and Victoria’s Secret Angel Candice Swanepoel

Since launching their footwear brand five years ago, Australia-born, L.A.-based designers Jasmine Yarbrough and Tamie Ingham have developed a strong following for their Mara & Mine collection. In particular, their Jem Skull slip-ons have emerged as a breakout hit, attracting high-wattage fans such as models Cara Delevingne and Chanel Iman. Now, for spring ’17, the label is debuting a collaboration with South African supermodel Candice Swanepoel. Their special collection of four sandals launches on the brand’s website on May 6. The styles will retail for $210 to $285, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the charity Mothers2Mothers. Here, the partners discuss their joint undertaking.

How did the partnership come about?
SWANEPOEL: Mara & Mine was brought to my attention by a friend. Then I met with Tamie and Jasmine in New York City, where we hit it off and discussed working on a collection of sustainable accessories. I’m a very creative person and am always looking for opportunities to explore that. So during the time off [from modeling] during my pregnancy, I needed a project to work on.

What was the design process like?
INGHAM: We discussed both of our aesthetics in that first meeting in New York, then brainstormed a few different ideas and had a personal Pinterest board that we each added to. We got this overall bohemian vibe from Candice, and certain styles she liked and colorways. And when she was visiting L.A., she came to our office, and we put all our collective images together and started sketching out ideas.

What was the inspiration for the shoes?
SWANEPOEL: The inspiration came from my love of the summer months, travel and my bohemian and minimalist style. I wanted to create a summer collection that is flattering, simple and ethical, to show people that vegan accessories can be just as beautiful and luxurious as leather accessories. I was inspired by Bottletop, which I’ve worked with for a few years and is one of the first sustainable fashion brands out there. They make sustainable handbags, and the quality is impeccable. I asked myself, “Why aren’t there more brands out there with the same objective?”

How does the collection compare with the core Mara & Mine line?
INGHAM: It’s a very different aesthetic from Mara & Mine, which is quite androgynous and plays around with classical shapes, hardware and embroidery. But we wanted a point of difference and to capture Candice’s vibe.
YARBROUGH: This is also different from our brand because it’s vegan.

Did that cause any challenges for production?
YARBROUGH: It was fine, actually, because we’ve got a great manufacturer who works alongside us really well. We source the highest quality sustainable and eco friendly faux leathers and materials for our collection with Candice.

So, Candice, will you be wearing the shoes and sharing them with your fellow Angels?
SWANEPOEL: Yes, I can’t wait to show off the collection. They are the kind of sandals you wear every summer, that go with everything. There are some basics that will travel with me always and other pairs that are more of a fashion statement. I will definitely be sharing the collection with my girls.

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