Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Mallory, owner of Mallory Musante Shoes. We met through Twitter and I instantly fell in love with her unique business and her awesome designs. Take a moment to get to know the lady behind the shoes:
MGS: How did you get into fashion design?
Mallory: Believe it or not, the movie PS I love you really got me thinking about becoming a shoe designer. I’ve always been obsessed with shoes and thought that this would be a perfect career choice for me. So I took a 5-day class in San Francisco with a London-based accessory school, Prescott and Mackay, to learn how to hand make a pair of women’s pumps. After taking the class, I realized that it wasn’t feasible to hand make custom shoes for women because the materials are extremely difficult to find and sometimes very costly.
Then I met the owner of JGoods, a customization company that hand paints sneakers, at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization National Conference in Chicago in 2008. This sparked my interest and I wanted to know if there were hand painted shoes for women. I looked everywhere and only found a few different options that targeted very specific styles of women.
Since I’ve always painted, I wanted to try painting a pair of women’s pumps. I instantly fell in love and so did all my friends and family. So in 2009, I decided to start Mallory Musante Shoes by doing custom pairs of shoes and I have now expanded into creating my own line of Signature Looks.
MGS: What makes you different from other fashion designers?
Mallory: Painting different designs on shoes is probably the number one thing that makes me different from other fashion designers. In the footwear industry, painting on shoes is a fairly new concept. There are quite a few options for men and women that want hand painted sneakers but hand painted women’s dress shoes are scarce. And the few companies that provide hand painted women’s shoes were extremely specific in who they marketed their shoes to. The shoes are pretty specific in the sense that you could only wear them for certain occasions.
I want my designs to provide women with the option to wear their shoes for any occasion and with any outfit. They are unique enough to help women stand out from the crowd but not too crazy were they can only wear them for certain occasions.
MGS: What inspires your designs?
Mallory: I find inspiration everywhere. I could find inspiration in a piece of jewelry to something in nature to a piece of artwork….really anywhere. I always keep my eyes open and am constantly writing down ideas for designs. The best part about painting shoes is that if your vision isn’t coming out the way you want as you are painting then it is very easy to transform it into exactly what you want.
MGS: What’s a typical day like for you?
Mallory: Every single day is different, which makes everything so much more exciting! Some days I’m doing a lot of marketing and administrative work while other days I’m painting shoes like crazy and others I’m running to different meetings. So I don’t have a typical day but it definitely keeps me on my toes and makes every day exciting!
MGS: In your opinion, what is the hottest fashion trend right now?
Mallory: I’m obsessed with the nude and rose nude color trend right now. It is so chic and sexy.
MGS: …and the worst fashion trend?
Mallory: This is a tough question because my view on fashion is that not every trend or style is right for everyone. People need to pick and choose what works for them and what doesn’t work for them. So a trend that I don’t like is probably because I don’t like it on me but it is perfect on someone else.
MGS: Which of your current pieces is your favorite?
Mallory: Another tough question because I love them all! I love the Brooklyn because they go with everything and are really unique. I wear them with anything from professional attire to a little black dress to jeans and a tee shirt.
But for this Fall, I love the Autumn. The colors are perfect for the Fall and they are simple enough to wear with any outfit but unique enough to grab attention anywhere you go!
MGS: If you could be anything else, what would you be?
Mallory: Surprisingly I think about this question a lot since I just graduated from college this past year and honestly I have no idea what else I would do with my life. I would definitely want to work in the fashion industry, probably doing PR or marketing of some sort. I actually wouldn’t mind doing PR or marketing from a non-profit either.
Want to see more of Mallory’s awesome designs? Visit her site below and then make sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
What do you think of Mallory’s unique designs? I’d love to hear your comments!