Q&A with Kathryn Wilson
We caught up with New Zealand footwear designer Kathryn Wilson, on how she comes up with their styles for teeny, tiny feet
What inspired you to start designing shoes for babies and kids?
I was pregnant with my daughter Lola Belle who is now three and a half years old and was super excited to start creating small shoes for our customers ‘mini-me’s’ that were a beautiful quality product and fun design.
What’s different about designing for little people than adults?
They need to be soft, supportive and stay on the foot! The Baby Wilson style run from 6-18 months and focused on the ‘ pre-walking’ stage so the shoes need to be flexible and soft against the skin and mould to the foot.
What are considerations that you have when you’re designing?
We love to design shoes that are playful yet sophisticated across our ranges. The ‘Baby Wilson’ designs are timeless classics that won’t date so you can keep them for other children once your baby out-grows them.
What types of materials do you use?
The Baby Wilson designs are full leather upper and lining.
What colour palette is trending at the moment?
We keep the Baby Wilson palette very soft and classic… pinks, golds, ink blue for boys and metallics… the women’s styles are much brighter this summer.
What do you have in mind when you’re designing a new collection?
The designs are often a ‘mini’ version of the designs in the mainline ‘Kathryn Wilson’ collection such as the ‘Lil Janey bootie’ that matched the ‘Janey trainer’ in KW range… we know our mums love this when they can get shoes to match their little ones. We have also embroidered our beloved pets faces onto the baby styles with ‘lil Biggle boot’ (beloved cat) or ‘Lil Syd boot’ who is our office dog!
What kind of amazing designs should we expect to see in the future?
We love to have this collection as a fun addition to the womenswear line. We are always looking at new ways to introduce new colours, shapes and designs. Especially ways to match ‘mummies shoes’.
What age is a good age for your child to start wearing shoes?
Once they start walking it is important to have shoes and soles that support this and their feet. When they are under one year old the shoes are really to protect them when crawling or to ‘look cute and keep warm’ so my answer would be as soon as they fit them! I remember I was so excited when Lola Belle fitted her first pair of shoes at about 4 months old.
What are the ingredients to the perfect baby shoe?
Softness, quality, cute factor.
How old is your daughter and what is her name – is she an inspiration to shoe designing for you? And how many pairs of shoes does she have?
Absolutely, Lola Belle is now the Muse for our ‘Little Wilson’ shoes which are made in Brazil and aged for toddlers from 2.5 years to 6 year olds. We have done hi-tops which have sold out and waiting no the new Summer delivery of cute metallic sneakers with glitter hearts and stars in the lacing. Luckily Lola loves shoes and likes to choose her pair to wear each day.
Do you have any tips for parents who are buying shoes for when their child is starting to walk?
I would recommend visiting specialists such as ‘future feet’ who can measure them up and find a supportive pair that is right for them.
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