If we had to choose what is that we love most about our job and about the stores, one of the very first things would be the opportunity it gives us to meet and become friends with so many talented and creative people. From designers to reps we feel we have become a big family and we wanted to in a way make you all be part of it.
Through a series of lunches, coffees, beers and what not, we started this small section in the blog where our buyers meet with designers and talk about their work, our work and what brought us together.
To start, Marta, our womenswear buyer, met with Ariadna & Ernest, the creative minds behind About Arianne, our new shoe line straight from Barcelona, to share their views, their stories and where they see themselves in the future.
Marta - Hola! Long time no see! It has been less than a year and it feels like forever. How are you? How is everything going?
Ariadna- Hola! I know! We have been super busy! Fortunately the brands has been growing and we haven’t stopped since you last saw us. Collaborations and collections have kept us really busy!
Marta - That is so awesome to hear! I of course have been following all your steps on social media and I can’t tell you how happy I am of all of your success. But let’s start from the beginning, how did you guys meet? How did About Arianne get started?
Ariadna - Well, Ernest and I met like 5 or 6 years ago. I had finished my graduate in Fashion and came back to Barcelona from London during the summer. I started working at a clothing shop to make some money and get my first collection going, It was there where I met Ernest, he was the visual merchandiser at the shop. It took us a little time to finally meet outside the shop but once we did we just couldn’t stop! Haha, it felt like we had known each other all our lives. The truth is we connected immediately!
Ernest - We also met at the perfect time. Both of us where specializing in our careers, Ariadna was doing a Masters Degree in shoe design and I was finishing my Masters Degree in Art Direction. When she jumped into designing shoes and launch the brand I started helping her with the art direction of the brand. We kept collaborating and we kept sharing ideas, so we decided to start our own project. About Arianne was born, and our first collection was launched on FW 2010.
M - I know exactly what you mean, that is exactly how I felt when I met Valerie, my business partner at Equals and my creative soul mate, when you connect so strongly it feels like there is anything else you can do but start working together, like destiny! I know you, Ariadna, have always known you wanted to be a designer, but did you both always knew that you wanted to make shoes?
A - When i started my degree I was more into making clothes and making full collections, but the more I got into it the more I realized that what I really liked was making shoes. I understood that shoes can completely change a look and that I was also unconsciously spending more time on that part of the collection. At the same time I just wasn’t able to find the shoes I wanted at stores and I realized that I was not the only one. I started sketching ideas I had in my mind and started showing it to my friends and people I knew, everybody kept telling me to keep going and start my own label so i guess I just listened to what they were saying. It was thanks to them that I learned that there were more girls like me that couldn’t find what they were looking for and that what I was proposing was exactly what they wanted.
E - Me personally, I never thought I would end up designing shoes. And I am from Elche (where there is a huge shoe making tradition). But since I was little I have always been very attracted to fashion and it was also true that I always had a hard time finding shoes that I really liked (well that hasn’t changed much hah). One little spoiler, if everything goes as we hope we want to launch a men’s line soon. My other passion has always been design, branding, communication.. So I can’t ask for more! I work at my own brand inside the fashion world, and I also get to design all that goes around it.
M - I totally see what you mean Ernest, that is one of the things I love the most about our the industry we work at, you know where and what you were doing when you started but you have no clue where or what you will be doing when you retire. Kind of how designing a collection goes, right? How do you guys do it? What are the first steps? Color palette, material, texture…or more about the overall style of the shoe?
A - It all starts with sketches made with pencil at my studio. Ernest and I talk about things we like about shoes, things we have seen or ideas we got in our minds. Then I sit down and start sketching, when I have a few of them we sit down together and we discuss what we like and what we don’t like as much. We make a final choice and then it’s when we choose types of leather, colors, soles and details. After that is pretty much going to the factory where we get them made, we make patterns and samples of every design not only to give the final details but also to cover the other important aspect, comfortability and functionality.
E - For example, the concept for our last collection AW15 came alive when Ariadna came from the factory with a new color chart of new leather styles, we started to take a look at them and fell in love with one of the styles that looked like granite stone. From that moment we started talking about stones and rocks, from the earth and the moon’s surface… until we came up with the concept. We choose Onyx as our main representative, we were mixing those granite leather styles with shiny leathers, something that we had never done before.
M - It is so interesting to me how we humans are so influenced and attracted to nature and all of its forms, almost everything we do is an inspiration of it in some way or the other. That is one of the biggest inspirations for me when buying for a new season or when coming up with ideas for Equals, what about you guys, how would you describe About Arianne in your own words? What are the fundamentals and principles of you as a brand? What is the foundation?
E - The core of our designs is always the same. We like to design timeless pieces, that don’t fall seasonable trends. Our goal is to make shoes with a different and particular style but that are at the same time comfortable, functional and of the highest quality, therefore that have a very long life!
Maybe one season we are more attracted to a certain style of sole, some details or others, but we really don’t follow any trend, we just follow what we like.
A - About Arianne's shoes are pretty recognizable, we like to respect the label and to be faithful to it. What we want is for anybody that see one of our shoes without seeing the label knows exactly that is ours, and slowly I feel we are getting there. Design in our brand is very important, a style that you can recognize at first sight. That and as Ernest said, a deep respect for quality and comfortability are equally essential.
M - As you know that is also one of the most important things for me when buying, I want timeless pieces with and exquisite quality so they can last a lifetime. I guess that is one of the reasons why I was impressed with you when first met you. Not only you were proposing a different style, but you knew what you were doing and you had a great respect for the craft.
I guess I have never asked you this but why did you also choose us to be one of your retailers? What do Revolver & Voyager have that made you feel like it would be a good home for your line?
A - We knew about the store through a friend of ours that lives in San Francisco, she said that it was one of the shops of reference from the area and she knew we would like you guys for your style and what you were proposing. Then when we were presenting the line at Capsule in NY we met Kathy from Kareem and she also told us about the shop and you! and then we had the opportunity to show you our work!
E - To us, it’s very important that the shop that carries our shoes transmits an aesthetic that we feel identified with. Same as in our studio/store we are transmitting and associating our brand's values we also need that the places where we sell our shoes share the same ideas. That way we also get to our customers as they go to those kind of spaces looking for that specific style. Voyager & Revolver are the perfect example of all of this!
M - Thank you guys! That is awesome to hear. To us sharing the same philosophy with the brands that we carry is essential! One last thing, I just have to ask…. when do you see About Arianne in 10 years? I know it’s a cheesy question, I guess what I mean is, where do you want to take it, where would you like to be?
E - We’ll.. of course we would want About Arianne to be a consolidated brand in the market and of reference in terms of design, quality and social responsibility. Also we would love to open our wings, men’s line for sure (and hopefully in less than ten years) and also a vegan shoe line.
A - 10 years are a lot of years… we would love to keep selling to boutiques and retailers but we would also love to have some of our own stores. In terms of design we would aspire to, as Ernest said, open our wings and design other kinds of things as well.. not big collections but more things that we like and that revolve around our way of living and our style. Furniture, accessories, maybe some housewares…
M - That sounds amazing! I can’t wait for all of it!
All images by: Marta Mullor / http://martamullor.tumblr.com/
Shop About Arianne HERE