Exposed Zippers

Did you always want to be a designer?

I always wanted to do something creative but never thought of myself as an artistic talent. I went to school for business and finance. Fashion was not something I thought I would end up doing. It came to me much later in life.

Before I was a designer, I worked for my father’s construction company firm in New York City. That mind-set is very detail oriented and there were definitely applicable lessons from construction that I still use today. Building is a useful skill but never something I thought I could be very good doing. Before that, I was an about adventure and travel writer, living in Los Angeles.

How did you get into shoe design?

Traveling in India, I found a sandal at a marketplace, which appealed to me because it was ethnic and modern. I bought it for my then girlfriend, now my wife and mother of our children. It got me thinking about importing the shoes to the United States. At first I imported them as private label, which I actually did not know was private label at the time. In time, I convinced the first factories I met to change the style into something less ethnic and more modern.

Shoe design is so specific and you had no formal training. How do you approach it?

I could never draw a shoe in a way that you would frame the illustration. But, I could sit there with craftsmen and the factories take the leather and show them what I wanted. I learned a tremendous amount about how to construct a basic sandal by working with people who had been making them for a long time. Read more at EXPOSED ZIPPERS