I have launched a Fashion Q&A series on Scarlet Aura where I interview fashion industry folk, and established and upcoming local fashion designers. I believe that you need to surround yourself with those that are where you aspire to be and I find that with each Q&A feature, I’m learning something new that truly inspires the budding designer in me to take things to the next level!
It is my pleasure to present to you my Fashion Q&A feature with Jade De Wit, Senior Private Label Footwear Buyer at Zando, and the creative brainchild behind the UTOPIA footwear brand.
Fashion bloggers have become vitally important to our industry. With the ever-evolving industries of marketing, public relations and social media, bloggers will represent an even more important piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaching consumers and nurturing brand ambassadors.
It has become more and more difficult to earn the trust of consumers. Bloggers help build the relationship between business and consumer.
~ Jade De Wit
Do scroll further read my Fashion Q&A with the lovely Jade De Wit of Utopia.
Fashion Q&A with Jade De Wit of Utopia
Fashion to me is about expressing your identity, showing someone who you are through your fashion choice. Your style needs to illuminate who you are.
What made you decide to pursue a career in footwear design or buyer for footwear?
Who wouldnt love to be able to design and develop their own shoes? The truth is I actually fell into footwear design, I started off as a store manager for a footwear retailer and slowly my love affair with footwear developed. So much so that I now specialise in footwear.
Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection?
Yes, as a designer this process is driven more by current trends based on look, design and quality. However, when you are in a retail environment the process is very different. One starts by looking at historical performance, as well as “winning lasts” – trend is merely a factor for market relevancy.
What do you enjoy most about designing or sourcing footwear and what is the most challenging
Oh I most enjoy seeing people wearing my footwear, however I thoroughly enjoy the design process. Working with factories on fabrics, designs and last shapes, then finally getting to see the finished product. This really feeds my creative side.
How would you describe your design style?
My design style is a combination of traditional style with a modern trend twist. I try keep my ranges clean cut and timeless, offering the consumer both best quality for value as well as on trend items that are not limiting to one seasonal trend.
What do you think are the future footwear trends?
I think the contemporary classics are here to stay for example: the stiletto, pointy courts, and leather flat sandals. However I do see footwear getting a little more risky with chunky structured heels coming through, driving strong texture and detailed finishings. But if I had to pick the key must have item for the upcoming season, is would be the flatform sandal or shoe as well as the multi strapped buckled heels, which have proven to be taking off in our market.
What advice would you give those interested in pursuing a career in footwear design today?
If footwear is your passion, dive in and learn as much as you can. We have more and more opportunities for people who specialise in footwear in South Africa, with new programmes being added to many fashion and design schools locally, making it more accessible to learn about the design technicalities of footwear. BUT its all about the passion, you must be passionate about footwear.
What impact do you feel fashion bloggers have on the industry today and where do you see it going in the future?
Fashion bloggers have become vitally important to our industry. With the ever-evolving industries of marketing, public relations and social media, bloggers will represent an even more important piece of the puzzle when it comes to reaching consumers and nurturing brand ambassadors. It has become more and more difficult to earn the trust of consumers. Bloggers help build the relationship between business and consumer.
What is your inspiration behind your collection?
Aside from the key trends, 70’s revival and Boho Tribe, my biggest inspiration is stylish simplicity, there is longevity in simple stylish pieces.
How can we get our hands on your collection?
Zando.co.za – search for Utopia, there you will find a wide range of footwear, to suit all your needs.