These Avant-Garde Heels Were Inspired by Childhood Paintings

If there’s a shoe of the future, it feels like iRi’s SS ’18 collection would house the prototypes. While the avant-garde styles feature artistic shapes that lend a futuristic aesthetic, ironically enough, it was childhood memories that inspired the line.

iri, shoes, janet yeung, ss 18
The curved heel is signature to iRi.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

“iRi is an homage to my Grandmother so every collection is inspired by a small moment I had with her and for collection 2 it was my childhood drawings,” explained Janet Yeung, iRi’s co-founder and creative director. With CEO and co-founder Latif Nawab, the Parsons graduate launched iRi shoes in May, putting forth the brand’s signature squiggly heels and zig-zag outsoles.

“Along with my business partner Latif, we decided to focus on shoes as this was a category that neither of us had worked on before! We felt and believed we could use this to our advantage in designing something that could cut through the noise.  It was a very risky move but we were both naively confident it would work out,” said Yeung. 

iri, shoes, janet yeung, ss 18
Zig-zag outsoles are a prominent feature in iRi’s shoes.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

And cutting through the noise is just what collection two, backed by theme “Playing on Paper,” achieves. Design elements for the Italian-made shoes are consistent with the debut assortment. Neoprene high-top shoes call to mind edgy space boots. Patent leather boots with curved heels read La Femme Nikita. And the black “Derby” heeled loafers round out the more everyday wear side of the assortment.

iri, shoes, janet yeung, ss 18
A metallic silver platform adds shine to the collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

And it’s not just the Derby in black, but the neutral color (along with white) makes up the base of the assortment’s palette. Meanwhile, strategic pops of powder blue, violet, orange and even metallic silver add fun character.


“Its always a challenge introducing a new brand to market but we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response to the brand from industry peers and customers.  We are constantly listening which helps us shape our business moving forward,” added Yeung.

iRi collection two is currently being produced and expected to launch within the next two months. See the upcoming styles in the gallery.

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