How This Emerging Brand Is Making Shoes for Rebels — Including Lady Gaga

Havva Mustafa, a young name to watch in the footwear industry, created her label around the idea of a rebellious woman who isn’t afraid to make a statement.

Her bold use of color, slogans packed with attitude and affinity for studs and sturdy block heels, quickly earned her an impressive following of celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Paloma Faith, Liza Owen, model Marta Pozzan and influencers Doina Ciobanu and Bettina Looney.

Now in its third season, the label is mostly garnering attention for its playful take on classic loafer styles, recreated with star-shaped studs and heart-shaped embroideries, and its cool boots, which often feature logos such as “Bad Girls Don’t Sleep” or “Worst Behavior.”

“Some people might say that it’s a slogan that you just put on a boot. It’s not, it’s the concept and we design around it. Everything – the slogans, the embellishments, the color combinations – comes together to build a character, a type of woman who is cool, a bit rebellious and doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks,” said the Turkish-born, London-based designer, who works alongside her younger brother, an architect, on the label.

The art of making well-crafted shoes, has been instilled in the siblings’ blood from a young age, having grown up with a father who was a consultant and designer to many footwear labels.

The brand’s square-toe and pointed-toe ankle boots are quickly becoming signatures, yet Mustafa wants to continue testing new styles and adding to her collections.

“We like to see what’s out there and do it our way,” she added.

Havva Mustafa spring 2018 "Wors Behavior" boots
Havva Mustafa spring 2018 "Wors Behavior" boots
CREDIT: Courtesy Photo

She often uses social media to gage customers’ response, a tool that has proven integral to building up the brand.

“I always think that now, with a good camera and some hard work, you can create amazing content and build your brand. That’s what we do,” said the designer, who often uses Instagram to communicate with both customers and retailers expressing interest. “You can create an entire platform and your consumers become really receptive to it and message and comment.”

Sales conversions following celebrity or influencer exposure have also been particularly strong for the brand.

“Sometimes sales conversions are very high, especially if a picture was posted multiple times. Some of those girls, who have a genuine fan base of people who are into them and like what they wear, are really able to move the product.”

The brand’s prices range from $288 to $689, so that any working woman “who wants to have the shoes, can save up for them and buy them.”

Even if the label is already getting a lot of attention on social media and its own e-commerce platform, Mustafa still believes in the power of retail and is working towards expanding her wholesale network.

“Consumers have trust in the stores, so if you get into one of those larger retailers, it ensures trust within the consumer. It’s like a 5 star Uber rating,” she said.

Her line is currently stocked on Luisaviaroma.com, where the first collection was a quick sell-out. A U.S. stockist is next on her list of priorities, following increased demand from U.S.-based clients.

The next collection dubbed “Anti-Romance” – which promises more cool-girl slogans and heart embroideries – will be presented during New York and Paris Fashion Weeks.

Havva Mustafa spring 2018 loafers
Havva Mustafa spring 2018 loafers
CREDIT: Courtesy Photo

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