In Her Shoes: Zendaya Breaks Down Her Design Process
The multihyphenate starlet dishes on her new shoe line's inspiration, her creative process, and "looking a hot mess" in the recording studio.
Zendaya Coleman, author, actress and recording artist, has been making a serious imprint on the red carpet with her unique style. From Michael Kors plaid skirt sets to Vivienne Westwood jumpsuits and custom Fausto Puglisi, she manages to hit the mark every time in a youthful, fun and fresh way — and the fashion world has taken notice.
Publications from Teen Vogue to WWD regularly rank her as one of the top 10 red-carpet influencers, and now she is taking that prowess to her first fashion foray — a shoe collection. Designing the line with Law Roach, her stylist, the first shoes will hit stores in spring 2016 and will bear her nickname, Daya. She’s been holding the designs close to her vest but if you are lucky enough to score an invite to her reveal event at FFANY or FNPlatform (the two footwear trade shows in August), you’ll get to see them up close.
For now, she sat down to talk with us a little about her first pair of Louboutin’s, why shoes are so amazing and how recording her music in socks is best.
What are your favorite pair of shoes of all time?
I would say the "So Kate" Louboutins, patent leather black, because me and Law, we are just so impressed with them, and they work with everything. They look good with anything, and plus my foot has molded to them now, so they’re not uncomfortable anymore. They’re actually the most comfortable shoes I own. I wear them everywhere — like literally everywhere — to the point where I had to get the heel fixed, because it was destroyed, because I wore them so much. We definitely have our own version of that go-to shoe [in the line].
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What shoes did you wear on Dancing With the Stars?
I wore dance shoes usually. They’re just nude. They’re not the cutest shoes in the world, but they’re made for ballroom dancers. A couple of times, I got to wear Chucks, because I was cute and adorable, and they allowed me to do that, because I was 16. They were white, and then they bedazzled them. They bedazzle everything over there.
Why did you want to do a shoe line?
I love shoes, so there’s that. Honestly, I was really inspired kind of by my family. I have a lot of sisters and nieces, and one of my nieces is in college right now. I have a sister who is a dancer. These are women that are either just now starting to get a job, or kind of come into their own and become what they’re supposed to become. At that time, you don’t have a lot of money to pay for the shoes that you see on all your favorite celebrities — the shoes that you really, really want — it’s just unreasonable. So it’s about still having quality, and not losing the quality of the shoes, but making something that that girl can still feel cute in, and not feel like she has a knock-off.
Why are shoes so special to you?
Because they’re amazing. I’m a girl. I feel like I went through a phase where, when my feet finally started growing, and my body continues to change. But my feet have completely stopped, and now I can just have a collection of shoes. It’s like you document your life through shoes. Clothes kind of come and go, but shoes stay. They kind of say where you were, what you did and what was happening.
What inspires you when you design your shoe line?
I think what inspires us is our personal taste. What would we like? I’m not going to make any shoes that I’m not going to feel comfortable going out in. I’m not going to do it. We’re really obsessed with every detail of every shoe and everything that goes into it, even down to like the strap or the color of the metallic on the clasp — all kinds of stuff. Me and Law have now become really attentive to people’s shoes when we’re outside. We’re walking, and we’ll just stop people for their shoes. We notice "I’m seeing a lot of wedges," or "I’m seeing a lot of this, I’m seeing a lot of that." We just kind of collect our data, and that’s it.
What can we expect to see in your line?
We kind of wanted to touch a little bit of everything. We have a lot of nudes. I feel like almost every shoe we have comes in a nude, because I feel like that is so important, I think, especially for the working woman, you can’t go wrong with nude. It works, every time. Know what I mean?
What’s your favorite shoe in the collection, so far?
Oh, that’s tough. I personally am obsessed with some of the flat-type options that we have, the platform — and there’s slip-ons because they’re comfortable, but they’re so freaking cute.
What shoes do you like to wear when you record music?
I like no shoes. I usually do it in my socks. I’m usually looking a hot mess! Usually, they’re like cozy socks with some kind of pattern on them; something cool like that, or mismatched. Honestly, whatever I can get out of my drawer that day will go on my feet.
What size shoe are you?
I’m a 9.
What kind of shoes do you like to see on guys?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter. I think for me, it’s really about the outfit as a whole. I’m definitely a sneaker person, but I also love seeing a good dress shoe.
What’s your favorite part of designing your shoe collection?
Honestly, that we can be creative and just have fun. It’s really fun to be a part of. It’s like free choice school project, you can do it about whatever you want. And it gets to be about shoes. They’re my favorite thing, ever.