Genderless Heels IS OUTRAGEOUS SHOES IN INCLUSIVE SIZES. For a decade, Kira Goodey (@kiragoodey) has built an international reputation for creating towering footwear. Her shoes have elevated style icons including Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, Doja Cat and Nikita Dragun. She believes incredible shoes should be available to everyone – whatever their size, shape or gender. Now, after two years of development, the brand is releasing its first ready-to-wear shoe collection. Every style in the collection is available in an extended size range from EU 36 to 46
GFA talks with Kira about her background and her winning project:
Tell me more about your background and how you get into designing shoes?
I started more in womenswear. I always been obsessed with making things since a young age. I always instinctively knew I wanted to do something in design. Later down the line, I came across this bespoke fetish shoe cobbler, and I became very curious about the idea of making shoes so I begged the artist to let me be his apprentice. I love everything about process of shoes making from day one. This experience resonates to so many things I love; the fashion, the expression, the sculpture, while still being durable and practical; the idea of finding the perfect balance between fashion and function. I was hooked into the world of footwear design and from then on, that has what I’ve been doing in the past 10 years.
When I first started, I work with bespoke client and my clients are so diverse, they came in all shapes and sizes. The clients who have larger sizes struggle to find shoes that work for them, shoes that are equally exciting, there really is nothing available for them. The idea of doing a shoe that covers all sizes from 33-36EU is very uncommon when you look at the offers available in the current market, especially for smaller brands. So my brand really fills in the gaps, that everybody in all foot sizes can fully express themselves the way they deserve.
What is your guiding design principle?
Fashion is only clothing, until someone put it on. It’s how someone wear something and what it says about them and the journey they take with it. It’s not just a piece of art sitting on a shelf to just look at. That’s what really important to me. For me it’s more important to look at a shoe not just as art but as a working functional shoe; they have to work, if they don’t work, there is no point to it. It’s this the idea of bridging engineering and artistic challenge.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from for your work?
Back then, pre-pandemic, going to the club, I always inspired by people expressing themselves in those scene; perfect make-up, incredible hair, and wearing outfits that tell stories. Then you look at their shoes and you wish they would be able to be as expressive on their feet as well. What inspired my work is when I walk out of the street of East London, the color and the contrast, how people style their shops, the sights, the smell, the lifestyle and culture. Going to museum and seeing this divine object that are 100 years old, and the craftsmanship that is immaculate, the attention to details and the love that pour into the work.
What was most important for you when working on this project and what were the biggest challenges you faced?
I’ve been working in the industry from bigger luxury brands, and I learned that the biggest challenge is how the whole fashion industry is set up on how shoes are bought. So when you’re a shoe brand and you show shoe collection to buyers and the buyers select what goes on the market. So even if you offer them a collection that come in full sizes, they only select limited portion of specific sizes that are sold the most in order to meet their bottom line. This is the reality of retails and the pressure that they have. They have take the safest route and only invest in what will drive their revenue. This means that for me selling to retailers and wholesalers with uncommon sizes is out of questions. So with the ethos for my brand to make shoes accessible to everyone, I could only do it direct, in which direct to consumer business for independent brands are extremely challenging. This ultimately became a problem for the lack of offering in uncommon sizes.
Which designer in the footwear industry do you most admire and why?
The one that I always look up to would be Andrea Prussia from the early 20 century, designing the most divine, surreal, sculptural shoes. For me this is the type of designer I wanted to be, where the craft is miraculous and concept is strange and exciting and the final piece is so beautiful.
Can you tell me more about your design process?
So I tend to be quite material-driven. I’m quite hands-on with my process with the influence from the shoe-making background. A lot of my designs are dictated by what the material does. I work with leather a lot, it’s the byproduct from the meat industry, it’s so strong, versatile and so good for your feet and I love the techniques leather can achieve. So I would started of mixing materials and play with different techniques then piece them together into the collection. I love working by hand to understand its technicality and then get into sketching and then getting back to sample making. I tend to work on the first sample myself before working with factory because I have this process of realizing and designing through making. My background with shoe-making continues to influence me with the way I work today.
What would be your dream design project?
I love making collection and being able to financially able to do this forever is the dream. I am a huge art fan; every places I visited, I always go to art museums and different galleries which keep me nourished. If I have all the resources in the world, I would love to have a gallery and created this experiential space for people to fully express themselves; dressed up from head to toe in my designs and immerse themselves completely in this world that has the feel of semi real and semi surreal ecosystem.
What do you wish to see more of in the footwear industries?
More fantasy, more drama. To see more designs that is unapologetic and not afraid to make their own status quo. I would like to see more small brands doing niche creative things, more innovative, with all the love and passion, instead of looking the bottom line and only design what sells for the masses. And I hope that people and social media really push to nurture these small brands to continue breaking the ground and push boundaries.
How has the pandemic affected your work and design process?
The pandemic has hit supply-chain really hard. Getting things you want, getting the things on time have become slower and more expensive. It definitely causes every brands to rethink about how they build business, how they communicate and how they need to adapt constantly. You have to be quick on your feet because you can no longer able to stick to how the industry run and how it has been done because it doesn’t work that way anymore. You need to be more patient, go with the flow and be innovative with the constrains that come with it and make the most of what you can access. You may look at this as a downside, but since everything is influx, you could actually take the whole industry in another direction; to be more sustainable, more ethical, kinder, nicer and simply more ‘human- focused’. I can really see positive change coming as a result of the pandemic.
What does this award mean to you personally?
I’m really over the moon, it means so much. It’s been a lot of work on my own, behind closed door, hoping that I’m doing the right thing and so to put it out there and getting the recognition this way really gives me the confident and optimism that even though this journey is hard, I’m taking the right direction and that people see the value in my brand and motivated me to not give up. I’m very grateful.
The Global Footwear Design Awards (GFA) is announcing winners for its second edition, showcasing a variety of exceptional creative potential across 20+ categories in all levels; Brands, Independent and Students. The GFA recognizes visionary design talent from around the world with an ambition to provide the highest recognition to footwear designers in all categories including sustainability and social impact.
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