Interview with Naomi Reid of Latigo Footwear

Latigo Footwear, DNA Footwear’s Brand Crush for the end of this May, is one of my personal favorites. Latigo’s sandals and booties are all beautifully made with the softest leather and perfect for matching your summer style. It is unbelievably refreshing to find a line of shoes that transition so well from the laid back California vibe to the trendy Brooklyn way of life.

This month I spoke with Naomi Reid, the Design Director at Latigo, about her current position and the creative process behind designing such a breathtaking line of shoes. Born in New York City, Naomi has spent time living in both Brooklyn, California and Vermont. In addition to living on both the East and West Coast, Naomi is a world traveler and pulls inspiration from all of her adventures. Whether you are a fan of Latigo or curious to hear the inside scoop on what it’s like to design shoes, Naomi’s insights are sure to inspire your fashion choices this spring and summer season. Read on for more about Naomi’s career in design and what places she finds most inspiring. And, for those of you wanting more of Naomi’s take on design, visit Naomi Reid: Inspiration & Design Behind Latigo featured on the DNA Footwear Pinterest Account.

Full Name: Naomi Reid Current Title: Design Director Latigo Footwear Educational Background: Parsons School of Design NYC and Academy of Art San Francisco

What was the inspiration for the first pair of shoes you designed? I started designing when I was five. Doing things like cutting all the hems on my dresses… just cause they looked too long to me… or painting red dots all over my yellow carpet… cause it looked better. My mom was super patient. The first pair of shoes was designed in my head when I showed up to school wearing a pair of shoes that no one else had or understood.  Since we only got one new pair of school shoes each season, childhood embarrassment was the inspiration… the deep nagging for the next perfect shoe started then and hasn’t stopped. Tell us about the process of launching your very first collection. My first collection was designed on my kitchen table in my little apartment in SF. I went to design school but had never designed a shoe before. The inspiration was fueled by what I wanted to buy, but couldn’t afford or was frustrated not to find in the stores. I was a very young mother of 2 babies and didn’t have deep pockets to fund a new shoe wardrobe each season. I sketched my shoes using exotic skins, leopard and ostrich, bright colors, extreme toe characters and many of them couldn’t ever actually stay on a human foot. But, those sketches landed me my first shoe design job and many of those designs did get reworked into our first few collections. How did your current position with Footwear Unlimited come about? I had been freelancing for the Kenzie line of footwear. I was referred to Footwear Unlimited by one of our retail buyers. I am grateful to her everyday. This has been a super exciting ride! You travel so much for work, what is one of your favorite places to travel for design inspiration? That changes all the time. But, consistently I adore Los Angeles and New York for vintage finds and for seeing what’s happening on the street. I couldn’t live without my inspiring trips to Paris and Antwerp. But, often I find cool things when I am not expecting it: for instance some chic girl in an airport wearing something in a way that looks fresh and super right. It kind of pushes a button in my head. That can set the stage for my next collection. I am always looking, wherever I am. What has been the most rewarding experience for you as a designer? There is nothing like catching a glimpse of someone on the street looking amazing, wearing my shoes! Recently I was in NYC and coming up from the Broadway-Lafayette subway station and literally saw my shoes walking by on the sidewalk. She looked so cute and it made me happy. It’s always a great feeling. What advice would you give someone hoping to start their own line? Believe in yourself and follow your gut. Don’t get swayed by others and their opinions. Sometimes the “listening” to others will water down what you are trying to say and can pull you right down. San Francisco or New York? New York is where my roots are and it feeds me creatively. Even when I was still living in NYC, I felt that there was something essentially Californian about the Latigo collection. Living out here has closed that loop for me. And the weather is better! Best place for dinner in your neighborhood? My kitchen, of course. Our produce and ingredients are better in California, since more is grown locally year round… makes for a beautiful meal every night. And lastly, what’s your favorite pair of shoes that you own? Okay. I have to admit. I have a LOT of shoes. Surprised? But my go-to pair right now is the Latigo ASTRO in grey and a pair of metallic gold oxfords that I made a year ago. I am in love with metallics right now.



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