Following last summer’s successful debut, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko has again teamed up with outdoor sandal brand Teva on a capsule of three new styles, available as a limited edition through the brand’s website beginning May 2.
Prices range from $75 to $85 for the West Coast-inspired collection, which is detailed with rose-gold hardware, cloudscapes and empyrean colorways, to complement Aiko’s dreamy style, both on- and off-stage.
Footwear News caught up with Aiko to hear more about her design process, putting the resulting shoes to practice on the hiking trail and why comfort is her top priority.
What did you learn from the first capsule that you applied to this second collaboration?
“The first collection was inspired by friendship bracelets. This collection I wanted to make a little more ethereal and magical. I wanted to play with this idea of sunsets, daydreams and memories of summer, to give the shoes that feel. I wanted to make this collection a bit more neutral so you could wear it lots of different ways.”
How does the design process and creative dialogue work with you and Teva?
“The first time I met with everyone in the company, we just talked about me as a person and as an artist. We got into why I feel inspired by Teva and wanted to work with them. We went back and forth on that so they could get a sense of my personality. For this season, we created mood boards together of what I was feeling: pictures of the sky, sunsets, natural elements. From there, they sent me some first samples, and I made my notes, and we went back and forth. It’s never them deciding something without me approving it. We just keep talking until we are happy with it.”
How would you describe how you like to wear Teva in a unique and different way?
“I love a flatform because it gives me height and is a great substitute for a heel. I wear them with everything from a dress to jeans with a big cuff on the bottom. I like to be flexible and comfortable with my style, so I wanted shoes that work with a festival look or also just going on a walk. That’s my favorite way to wear them.”
Tell us about your love of hiking and how you dress for the trail?
“When you are hiking, you might not be worrying if your shoes look cute or not, but with these, it’s a plus. When I wear them on the trail and look down, I feel happy. They make me feel like I am on a magical, mystical journey. I go hiking as often as I can, especially when I am on vacation. I used to go every other weekend when I lived near a trail. Now, a few times a year, I will go to Hawaii. Last month, I went to Maui by myself for the first time and did a lot of cool hikes every day. A lot of hikes I went on had waterfalls. A regular tennis shoe will get wet. In my Tevas, my feet can breath, and I feel more connected to the earth, too.”
How do you translate your everyday onstage? Are they at all similar?
“Most of the time onstage, I am barefoot. I’ve definitely worn Teva, too. I like to be super comfortable, and wearing Teva is the next best thing to being barefoot, because it literally just feels like you are walking on a cloud. That’s how I wanted this collaboration to look and feel. What I wear depends on the day and performance. If I am feeling super serious, I’ll wear all black. If I’m feeling happy, I’ll wear something soft and flowy. I like to have options. Even when I pick out the outfits beforehand, I have to have options, because I don’t know how I’m going to feel that day.”
What about the red carpet? Is there a place for Tevas there?
“I like flatforms on the red carpet, for sure. Heels are not really comfortable for me. I love to be comfortable. If I feel uncomfortable, I’m going to act uncomfortable — from shoes to clothes. I’m still getting used to the whole red-carpet thing. For the most part, I feel like it’s an awkward situation.”
Where will you be wearing your sandals this summer?
“At Lighting in a Bottle, my favorite music festival. It’s in California, and they call it the Burning Man junior. It’s music, art and healing. I’m performing there — and will be wearing my sandals all summer.”
Click through the gallery below to see more from Aiko and Teva.