At first glance it’s hard to believe that beautiful Zoe Lee is Asian. It turns out Footwear designer Zoe is half Japanese. Born in Canada, she is a citizen of both Japan and Canada. At first glance it’s hard to believe that beautiful Zoe Lee is Asian. It turns out Footwear designer Zoe is half Japanese. Born in Canada, she is a citizen of both Japan and Canada. Zoe says her shoe fetish isn’t any crazier than that of any other girl but do you know many girls who own over 100 pairs of shoes? She said she owns about 40 pairs of ugly shoes but saves them for inspiration, taking something she likes from one and adding it to another fusing together a brand new work of art. Zoe graduated from the Royal College of Art in London with a Master’s degree in womenswear – “ specializing in footwear. Before designing her own collection for tÃ© casan, Zoe earned very valuable experience as the accessories and footwear designer for Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.
ASIANCE: How did you get started in shoe and accessory design?
Zoe Lee: After having started out in womenswear, I decided to specialize in something more specific. I didn’t think about it very much. Shoes came naturally. Designing shoes is part of something, part of an outfit, not like designing clothing. I guess I enjoy being part of a larger picture, just don’t want to be the whole picture!
ASIANCE: What kind of aesthetics/shapes inspire your design?
Zoe Lee: Inspiration is hard to pinpoint really. Whether it be visual, a thought or a conversation. It pretty much comes from everything. I know what I like when I see it and usually it’s because something makes sense. I went to Cuba recently and visually it was quite unreal. But up close it all made sense. The buildings falling apart became more interesting with the years and therefore the layers of fixing. But I don’t have to go to Cuba to find that, I just have to always keep my eyes open.
ASIANCE: How closely does your own personal style fit with Vivienne Westwood?
Zoe Lee: When I work for someone, I don’t have to like the final product. Understanding it is much more important. I was lucky that at Vivienne Westwood I did like the final product and understanding the process therefore came easily. In terms of personal style, I definitely felt I fit in with what I was working on there. It was a wonderful place to be.
ASIANCE: How do you think your cultural background has influenced your design?
Zoe Lee: I am not quite sure what my cultural background is. It’s a mish mash of different places and nationalities. I grew up a little bit in Canada and Japan, and a lot in Hong Kong and England. I don’t really belong anywhere and I am lucky enough to feel comfortable everywhere (well so far!). My cultural background definitely influences my design, because my cultural background influences how I think.
ASIANCE: Do you eventually see yourself having your own line?
Zoe Lee: Sometimes yes, and sometimes not at all, we’ll see.
ASIANCE: What kinds of materials do you like to work with?
Zoe Lee:I have always liked natural fibers, but things are always changing. If something calls for a good piece of synthetic, then that’s what I’ll use. I don’t like unnecessary decoration at the moment. I can’t be specific about materials in the same way that I can’t predict what colors I will like in 2 seasons.
ASIANCE: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Zoe Lee: Yves Saint Laurent (especially70´s), Ann Demeulemeester, Yoji Yamamoto, Veronique Branquinho, Versace (in the 80s). I actually like a little from lots of different designers.
ASIANCE: What should people look for when shopping for shoes?
Zoe Lee:Feeling good is important, but that doesn’t necessarily mean comfortable!
For more information on her designs click here TÃ© Casan
Check out Hillary’s cool jet-setter shoe line http://www.journuit.com/