Rocky Barnes has made her first foray into shoe design, and it comes just in time for summer. The influencer teamed up with Aldo for a collection of sandals and accessories that is warm-weather ready, offering chic colorways and styles that are perfect for any backyard barbecue.
And while Barnes may be known for creating her idyllic Instagram feed filled with stylish looks and aspirational travel posts, the model had always wanted to design and it’s come full circle.
“It was always my passion. And I never actually went down that road to be a designer. But I somehow was able to manifest it in a roundabout way, which I’m really grateful for,” she told FN over a Zoom call.
Like many, Barnes has been quarantining with her family, including her newest addition, a baby boy named Jones, and though the capsule was designed pre-coronavirus, she said it is still the ideal summer shoe line.
“With the collection, I had traveling in mind. I wanted to be able to wear my shoes all day,” she said. “I’m not that kind of girl that puts a pair of shoes on just for a photo because I’m really big on comfort. I find that you’ll pack all these clothes and then you’ll just only wear the ones that are comfortable at the end of the day.”
Barnes added that she wanted styles that would take her from day to night and something she can explore in.
“Obviously, we’re gonna be keeping close to home now. But the line still speaks to what we’re doing at the moment on how we want to be comfortable, but still look chic and want to be put together,” she said.
The capsule features four shoe styles, including an ankle-tie block heel, a square-toed flat sandal, a minimalist kitten heel slip-on and a wrap-around rope flat sandal.
The entire collaboration was inspired by Italy and memories there with her husband. Style names include Capri and Positano, which is where the couple had their first trip, as well as Ravello, the city where they got engaged. She had to look out for her mom, too, naming the style Cruz after her.
“She’s been my ultimate style inspo, and she’s always pushing me to do fashion in my way and not adhere to trends and do what I love,” Barnes said about her mother.
Her son also had some influence on the shoes — thanks to pregnancy brain.
When creating the line at Aldo’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, Barnes said meeting after meeting she voiced the need to have this icy blue colorway. “It just was speaking to me. I was obsessed with it and needed every thing in this ice blue,” she said. “I think that was the the pregnancy boy inside.”
As for price points, the line starts at $20 for earrings and accessories then goes up to $80 for the block-heeled sandals.
With her namesake blog that she launched nearly 8 years ago and now a growing Instagram audience of 2 million followers, Barnes has had a front row seat to the social media revolution. Over the years, she has realized the power of her influence on not only inspiring her audience, but coverting those likes into sales, and more importantly, creating change off of Instagram.
“Creating my own photos on Instagram, it was kind of just a side passion project that bloomed into this amazing platform that I have. My modeling career should have been dead by now. With Instagram, it’s a platform that’s given a voice to people like me who wouldn’t normally have a voice,” she said. “I typically keep it pretty light. But, with circumstances today, it’s definitely my responsibility to speak out and support and share information and just push people towards taking action.”
The Aldo x Rocky Barnes collection is available online now.