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An Interview with Rupert Sanderson

rupert sanderson interview

At the turn of the century Rupert Sanderson’sfirst line of his eponymous shoe label was produced. They were shoes that women actually wanted to wear, with a focus on fit, length and shape – all designed for comfort to flatter the wearer. It worked and Sanderson became an almost overnight success, honing his craft over the last 15 years and becoming renowned for his timeless yet fashion-forward footwear (no one does a court shoe like Rupert). As we welcome Rupert Sanderson shoes on Coggles, we sat down with the British designer to talk about his career so far, his inspiration and what shoes we should be buying from his AW17 collection.

rupert sanderson aw17 campaignHow would you describe your approach to shoe design?

When designing I focus on line, volume and material. To me these are the most important aspects. The elements have to work together to create a well-balanced shoe that will always flatter the leg. I prefer to avoid overdressing the foot, and work to perfect the silhouette using the best quality materials that make shoes that last, which are graceful and that give power and confidence to the woman who wears them.

You started out in advertising before you went into shoe design – why the change of heart?

It was a straightforward decision at the time. I quit a career in advertising to learn the art of making shoes. I had always been fascinated with architecture and design. I think a lot of people hide a dream to do something creative. If I wasn’t a shoe designer I might have designed boats, but I was lucky enough to make the jump and create a business out of it.

How did your experience in Italy influence Rupert Sanderson shoes?

When I first started out I made the decision to go to Italy for the summer and experience shoe-making at first hand. I was lucky enough to train under two renowned designers – Sergio Rossi and Bruno Magli. It was during this time that I really got to know the ins and outs of the Italian factories and build those valuable relationships that I still hold today.

Where do you find your design inspiration?

Wherever I go I am inspired – it might be to a gallery, to a different country for the first time. The wonderful thing about shoes is that they can tell so many different stories, and I believe women will have a million moods.

What is it about Rupert Sanderson shoes that makes them unique?

Every shoe is dreamt up and designed in London and handmade in my factory in Italy. I develop more of a modern fashion story, but on the architecture of classicism. The Rupert Sanderson woman is a woman of substance, she understands quality. But she tends to be a woman who is buying for herself and she knows how fashion works and isn’t intimidated by it. She can buy with confidence, she can wear with confidence and she doesn’t need to be governed by trends.

rupert sanderson starfire heelsWhat’s been your career highlight so far?

Winning the British Fashion Council’s Accessory Designer of the Year Award, and shortly after the ELLE Style Award for best Accessory Designer. Opening stores in Hong Kong, Greater China and most recently Taiwan have been an adventure.

And finally, tell us about the AW17 collection – what was your inspiration? Do you have a favourite pair?

My CRITIC boot with its fierce silhouette and sharp monochromatic colour contrast. Also our star story, namely the STARFIRE sandal, a simple silhouette with shooting star accessory, inspired by the night and all things nocturnal.

Shop Rupert Sanderson shoes on Coggles >>
Sarah Atkinson
Sarah Atkinson Writer and expert

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