What does it take for a designer to move beyond convention, and more importantly, to get everyone else to follow them? Convention is a tricky word, especially when it comes to shoes, for in shoes a great deal of the design potential is lost because…people have to walk in them. I learned during my interview with white-hot rising shoe design star Camilla Skovgaard that accepting that a great portion of shoe design is what you do after you satisfy the demands of the foot and the physics of simply walking.
One look at Camilla Skovgaard‘s footwear and you know she’s not satisfied with creating normal pumps and peep toes. The unusual combination of coming from a background in Arabic couture and being as naturally experimental as any shoe designer I’ve ever met, meshes to create designs that are stunningly unique but unquestionably “work”. Skovgaard does not let the very demanding reality of shoe design hold her back. In fact I became convinced, as we spoke underneath the Bryant Park tents, that she seems to gain energy from the challenge. “Every idea is compromised” explained Skovgaard. “This leather is not available or this mold is not yet possible.” Yet Skovgaard shepherds each of her creations through the harsh process so she is satisfied with not only the look of her shoes but the fit and finish as well.
Camilla Skovgaard’s unique designs, her unmatched determination and her boundless energy all combine with constant creativity to create a designer who is really a force to be around. “I am always designing, I don’t have moments of inspiration, it sort of just keeps happening.” It is this constant energy and unfettered drive that has allowed her to master other elements of her business as well. “I am now an expert at international shipping, I can tell you anything you want to know”, she said with her typically lustrous smile. Skovgaard describes her aesthetic as intellectually sexy and you would have to agree looking at her magnificent Fall/Winter collection which was featured in last week’s Matthew Williamson show.
The last topic we touched on during my time with Camilla was the first thing on everyone’s mind these days, the economy. Despite a few concerns about vendor payments she expressed that her biggest concern was where and how you spend your revenue. “In this economy, you have to be so careful. I’m really trying to feel my way through the decision.” She certainly has momentum and said that the buyer interest had been very strong during her time in New York. Based on the passionate and focused young woman I met it would take a herculean challenge to derail the Danish dynamo.
Click to shop Camilla Skovgaard shoes.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with stories of entrepreneurs – from how they got their start onto the path leading to where they are now. I especially love to read stories of women who saw a need and acted on it to fill a void in the marketplace. As such, I’ve decided to create a space to showcase women entrepreneurs on What’s Haute, called ‘Women On Top‘.