"Women in the Middle East love something special" – Sophia Webster for Level Shoes
Introducing an exclusive capsule collection
Sophia Webster is a shoe designer, mother, BFC Designer Fashion Fund winner and now the latest designer to create a capsule collection exclusively for Level Shoes. This Fall/Winter '16 the Chiara, Webster's iconic butterfly shoe, has been unveiled at the multi-brand boutique and it's fast becoming a must-have in the Middle East. Now, Buro 24/7 Middle East's Editor in Chief, Shannon Wylie, speaks to the designer about the shoe, style and staying true to your talent...
You've created the Chiara, the signature shoe with butterflies, now in a rainbow of metallic leathers exclusively for the Middle East. What is it about this shoe that speaks to women in the region?
I think that women in the Middle East love something special, opulent and perhaps even unexpected. My Chiara shoe is definitely all of these things combined, and the exclusive metallic leathers offer more vibrant pops of colour that are well-suited to women in the Middle East.
We know that you draw every design by hand before creating a shoe. When you were imagining the new Chiara collection, what was it about women in the Middle East that resonated with your creativity?
When I was creating this collection, I thought of the women in the Middle East and their style — what seems to attract them, the colours they like. Knowing women in this region like glamour and to stand out, I knew my Chiara style would be perfect as it's a very eye-catching shoe that is beautiful from all angles. After this, it was a matter of choosing the most exquisite materials and colours, and a selection of metallic leathers in vibrant colours seemed like a combination that would resonate.
Shoes, in particular high heels, are a core part of the fashion DNA in the Middle East. What's your opinion on the state of shoes in the region?
The style in the Middle East is amazing. I think the women here dress in a way that makes them feel powerful, and high heels definitely do that. High heels change your posture and the way you hold yourself, they give you confidence.
WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE EAST LOVE TO MAKE A STATEMENT WITH THEIR FEET.
When to wear heels and when to not? What's your opinion?
I think women should dress in a way that makes them feel good about themselves and confident, be it in a pair of high heels or chic flats. I used to wear high heels to college every day, and then when I was pregnant I started to wear flats and quickly realised that not everyone wants to wear heels all day — it's not practical. This inspired me to extend my offering to include a wider range of heel heights to appeal to a broader range of consumer.
As a business woman, who has not only successfully launched online but also in concept spaces like Level, what's your vision for your small space in the world of shoes?
I have learnt to trust myself and my own vision; it's important to stay true to who you are and what you believe in. I plan to continue to design beautiful shoes that I love and believe women will love, and keep growing my business and team.
You opened your first standalone store this year. Do you have plans to expand in the same direction worldwide or even in the Middle East?
I definitely plan to roll out more stores globally in key destinations. It's hard to say exactly what the future holds, but it's definitely exciting!