give us some sugar sophia webster
Shoe designer and winner of the Emerging Accessory Designer award at the 2013 British Fashion Awards, keeps us sweet with a new pop-up shop.
So sweet, she's got me, on my knees, saying please! When we visited Sophia Webster's Covent Garden pop-up shop, we were like kids in a candy store. With a carpet of grass scattered in pink flamingos and walls filled with all sorts of liquorice delights; shoes in every colour under the sun and speech-bubble bags branded with 'touch my clutch,' and 'say my name,' it's impossible not to fall head first into her saccharine dream-world. From giant Barbie Doll boxes to unicorns to ladybugs, Nicholas Kirkwood's protégé creates a whole magical environment surrounding each collection and her pop-up shops never fail to stir your imagination, we just can't wait until her flagship store opens! Sophia Webster sweet-talks i-D into loving her even more...
Congratulations on your BFA award! How did it feel when your name was called?
It was amazing, I'm really honoured to have won that and to even have been nominated. It's really surreal.
Did you prepare a speech?
No I didn't want to prepare too much because I didn't know I was going to win. I kind of had a rough idea but then that totally went out the window and when I came off I didn't know what I said! I think I um'd and ah'd a few times but I somehow got through it.
So far in your collections you've had giant dolls, unicorns and bugs, where did you get your ideas for those from?
I think I always try and reference different movies that I've loved growing up. I love the shoes to have a real femininity to them, that makes women feel girly and smile. They're just happy shoes I guess! And I always like to create a really interesting environment to display the shoes as well.
You've created different worlds to display all of your collections, even your pop-up shop is like Alice's Wonderland!
Yeah, I mean I think it's more interesting than just putting them on a shelf, I like to make a little world for them.
Is your house or studio like that?
My studio is, yeah. My house… I'm not there a lot at the minute so it's a bit of a mess! I definitely sneak a lot of pink in there though, that's for sure.
Do you get to keep all the props?
Yeah, the studio is just mental because there's stuff from all the shows, we made the big Barbie boxes into book cases so they've got all the folders and things in them, it's really colourful and inspiring.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
MSGM. It's a contemporary Italian label, it's quite new but realy cool, they're really colourful and I think it's similar vibes to my shoes.
You got to design for Victoria's Secret…
Yeah, I got to design one of the groups in the show, that was amazing.
Did you go to the show?
I was invited but I was in Brazil with the British Fashion Council for the London Showrooms in Sao Paulo so I couldn't go, but I would love to, it would be amazing.
Any clues to the next collection?
Hmm, I don't know what I can say!
Just as colourful?
Maybe not! It's autumn/winter so it's always a bit of a challenge to bring the same sort of colour and vibrancy to autumn/winter, I have to find ways to sneak colour in because people just want to wear black in winter, but I'm sure I'll find a way.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I wanted to be a choreographer for music videos… or in the circus being a contortionist or something like that! I liked doing gymnastics.
What TV programs did you watch?
California Dreams, Heartbreak High… was that what it was called? The Australian one. Saved by the Bell, Sweet Valley High, that was my favourite with the two twins.
What about now?
I don't watch that much TV now, Downton Abbey, Homeland , the usual.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
I don't know, too many to count! I have a shoe room, it's pretty full at the minute, since I started my own company.
What was it like working with Nicholas Kirkwood?
He was amazing, it's just a great place to be. I was there for like three years while they growing so when I started there were only two people working on it and by the time I left there were 30, so just to see the growth and learn how to grow a small company is really good.
Are you still in touch?
Yeah, we're still in touch, he's a big supporter of my line.
What's the best piece of advice he's given you?
Just to be as creative as you can within the technical limits you have within a shoe, try and make it work to your advantage rather than restrict you, if that makes sense.
At a slumber party, who would be your perfect guest?
Gwen Stefani, she would be my number one guest.
What's the best present you've ever got for Christmas?
A Tom Binns necklace, you know, those really amazing colourful necklaces, from my husband last year.
What's the best present you've ever given someone?
I got him some Mr Hare's, the men's shoes, he was really happy with those.
Have you got any New Years Resolutions?
Stop eating so much beef Monster Munch! I used to have a pack a day at about six, that was Monster Munch hour.
Located at 38 King Street, Covent Garden, the Sophia Webster pop-up shop will be open until 28th February 2014.
Text Felicity Kinsella