After finding it mission impossible for so many years to come across fashionable ladies shoes, I jumped at the chance when bespoke shoe company Upper Street approached me to design a ready to wear collection for them, focusing on size 40-44 (although the collection is available in all other smaller sizes made to order). At last mine and so many other women's prayers will be answered.
Upper Street itself is owned by two sisters Julia and Katy who themselves have a size 42 foot, so to say we had common shoe denominator was an understatement. Julia lives and runs Upper Street from here in London whilst Katy, resides in China where they have their own shoe factory looking after production. Their business to date is bespoke where you as the customer click onto their site and create your own master pieces.
I'm hoping that bringing me on board to design this collection, will not only be their first ready to wear offering, but will be able to dispel the myth that big shoes have to be ugly, clumpy, unflattering, after all "we" (the larger footed ladies) want is be able to have the choice and variety that's available to the smaller sizes. Surely it's not asking too much ?!?
When starting the initial design process I'd be lying if I hadn't already got the collection mapped out in my head... I've dreampt many times of the shoes I would love to own if only I could find them in my size! That perfect court, shoe boot, strapy evening shoe in a heel height that didn't make me look like a giant (I'm 5' 10" bare foot). So after discussion it was decided to label the collection, "Classics with a twist". Those fail safe shoes you will have in your wardrobe for years to come but with on trend elements making them current for this season in design and fabric choice. It was official Upper Street by Nicole Smallwood was born.
Putting pen to paper took me back to my University days where I studied fashion design, mood boards, fabric swatches, inspirational shots, however all done on the Ipad this time, so no need to gas myself out with spray mount. Making my drawings look like feet and not hoofs to start with was a slight problem, however soon overcome when the creative juices started to flow and before I knew it my daydreaming shoe designs were now becoming a reality.
While I was busy whipping up the ideas Katy was out in China sourcing fabrics, soles and buckles to my specifications. With the fabric brief being metallics and blacks with a focus on texture, we both knew we wanted to make this collection directional and trend lead yet wearable within every woman's wardrobe. It was soon becoming apparent that we were getting one step closer to answering many Issues so many women with larger feet struggle find the answer too.
This is my journey to help find the perfect shoe, Cinderella shall go to the ball.