Young British fashion designer Sophia Webster's name has been on the lips of go-first style types since she launched her label in 2013. She quickly achieved cult status among those who can appreciate bold red prints of lips on their stilettos.
Her pop motifs and primary colours have attracted the pretty girlie — but never too girlie — celebs who can appreciate a flower with power, a butterfly not so fragile, and a thigh-high cut-out boot. These are bright looks for statement makers who aren’t afraid of fun in their fashion: Rihanna, Jennifer Lawrence, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chloe Grace Moretz.
British designer Sophia Webster showcases her new collection at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2015.
As an art student on her foundation course in London, Webster discovered that she wanted to be a footwear designer. “We spent a day sketching a still life, and I realised I loved drawing the shoes most of all,” she says.
From there Webster, now 29, went onto specialise in shoe design, earning two of the most prestigious degrees in the industry: a BA from Cordwainer’s College then an MA from the Royal College of Art.
Immediately after the RCA, she landed a job as assistant designer to Nicholas Kirkwood — which is very fancy footwork for a recent graduate. Two years later, her own name was on a line of strikingly original and graphic accessories the fashion media couldn’t get enough of.
Most recently she was nominated for the prestigious British Fashion Council/Vogue Fashion Fund Award, with the winner to be announced on March 24, 2015. Her latest collaboration is with Coca-Cola, a limited-edition capsule collection of, as Webster says, “high heels and bags that incorporate the iconic Coca-Cola logo, as well as some more subtle, discoverable details” on four of her signature shapes, including her speech bubble clutch.
Coca-Cola Global Licensing Manager, Marsha Schroeder, notes, “We are thrilled about the Coca-Cola collection with Sophia – she is an incredibly talented designer known for her unique aesthetic and witty designs. As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Coca-Cola Contour bottle, our collaboration with Sophia Webster is an exciting chapter in the story of our brand.
The Coca-Cola x Sophia Webster pieces will debut with Webster’s Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, available in stores and online this September. We spoke with the rising star about her signature style.
In a few words, how would you describe your design style?
Fun, colourful, feminine
Do you design for yourself? How do you build in that element that’s not too serious, that makes people smile?
I do design some pieces for myself, of course, but I also like to think of quite a few different women when I’m designing so that there is something for everyone. I try to speak to the women who gravitate toward my most colourful, fashion-forward items as well as women who prefer a more classic style. As my life is changing, my footwear needs are, too. Being a busy mother, my choices there have evolved since I started designing.
Tell us about some of your signature patterns or designs.
Just by looking at my accessories, you can see how important pattern and design is to me, from incorporating Riko tribal references to the recurring delicate butterfly wings. There are also the core shapes that I reimagine each season in new colourways and materials. For example, my Coco shoe is a signature plain pump, available in an array of colours.
What appealed to you about doing a collection with Coca-Cola?
Coca-Cola is such an iconic brand with such a rich heritage to draw inspiration from that I loved diving into this. And I learned that this year is the 100th anniversary of the glass Coca-Cola bottle. I love that enduring quality of the brand, and I also feel a real affinity with its positivity — enjoy!
Do you consider yourself a distinctly English designer? And if so, why?
I believe Britain really champions youth, which provides great opportunities for designers like me. So in that respect, yes. But London is such a diverse city that I think the modern English strength is that it presents such a wide point of view.
What do you think it is about your work that makes even notoriously jaded fashion editors and style bloggers and shoppers so effusive?
There’s love in what I do, so I hope that comes across. A democratic price point is important to me too. I try to offer that in a designer category.
What are your long-term goals and desires as a designer?
I’m having so much fun doing what I’m doing, and I feel like I’ve achieved so much in a short space of time, that it’s almost too much to think about what’s next. Winning my British Fashion Award for Emerging Accessories Designer in 2013 was an amazing moment for me. I’d love to follow it up with a win for Best Accessories Designer one day.
What are you working on next? Anything exciting you can reveal, or at least give us a hint?
Well, I’m continuing to expand my range of shoes and bags. And I recently introduced sneakers into my collections, as well as Sophia Webster Mini for kids, which is really exciting. We’ll see where the next few seasons take me.
Slideshow: Sophia Webster + Coca-Cola Collection
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