The key to Sophia Webster´s success has been to follow her intuition when designing her collections. Having a clear understanding of her business also helps. The smart designer and entrepreneur creates edgy luxury footwear, always original and feminine, but without neglecting comfort, functionality and affordability.
Her bold, eclectic aesthetics have turned her shoes into coveted objects of desire by stylish women, celebrities and fashion icons such as Anna Dello Russo and Sarah Jessica Parker. “My client is a vivacious woman who likes to enjoy what she wears and expresses her personality through her shoes”, says Webster.
Deborah Slack and Sophia Webster during the presentation of the collection at Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour.
Her unconventional style was the center of attention among her fellow classmates even as a student at London’s Camberwell Art College, where she studied art and sculpture and started to develop a keen interest in footwear. Afterwards, she enrolled at the legendary Cordwainers’ Technical College, also in London, to learn the fundamentals of shoemaking. The young talent would subsequently enter the Royal College of Art, where she earned a master’s degree in footwear design in 2010.
“I have always been interested in art and sculpture. I did not even know you could make a career in footwear design until I started my homework at Camberwell Art College,” recalls the young British designer.
Webster quickly captured the attention of fashion professionals for her fresh style. The famous shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood and his partner Christopher Suárez did not hesitate about offering her a position as assistant designer as soon as she graduated from school. Since then, Kirkwood has been her mentor, giving her unconditional support. “He’s the reason why I launched my own line. I learned a lot from him, and through him I got to know how the industry works,” says Webster. “Nicholas and Christopher have been great mentors to me, and I can always count on them when I need their advice.” During the three years she worked alongside Kirkwood, Webster accumulated experience and absorbed the skills and perfection she later used to create her own innovative and structural pieces, which captured the style that still defines her: “bold, eclectic and feminine.”
In 2013, after winning the Conde Nast award as Emerging Shoe Designer, Sophia Webster decided to present her first collection, Spring-Summer 2013, at London’s Fashion Week, again with the support of Kirkwood and Suárez. The undeniable footprint of her many trips to Brazil, where she makes her shoes, could be felt in the vibrant colors and tribal flair that characterized her debut collection. After her successful launch, it has been easy to penetrate the fashion market with her extravagant designs: Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus are just some of the big department stores that carry her coveted creations.
Sophia Webster continues to be praised for her sophisticated and modern approach to women’s footwear. It is not surprising that, after presenting only three collections, the British designer achieved her first joint project with the American firm J. Crew, to be presented in 2014. This collection blends J. Crew’s classic and informal look with Webster‘s world of fantasy. The collaboration with J. Crew, her work with Victoria’s Secret and her 2014 Resort Collection, recently presented at Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour, are some of her latest projects. However, the speed with which Sophia Webster has gained international recognition in the footwear industry, leaves everyone guessing about her next step. Her dream is to collaborate with Apple, but in the meantime we just have to wait for her forthcoming collections, which will certainly please every fashionable woman. ■