Melbourne-based shoe designer Renée Farina
is definitely one to watch. Her debut collection was very recently launched in Australia’s east coast. The extremely focused and highly wearable collection is made entirely in Australia. Her collection is currently exclusively stocked online and at Melbourne’ and Sydney’s Zomp Shoez
stores. The collection is due to arrive to their Perth stores in the next few days.
I contacted Farina to ask her a few questions regarding her collection and her love for shoes and fashion…
> Renée, tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to become a shoe designer. Was it a childhood dream, or was it something that happened by chance?
I always liked being creative – but it wasn’t until after I finshed uni that i made the decision to pursue shoe design. I HATED my course, so much so, it took me 5 years to complete a 3 year degree. Each boring class in business management, accounting and business statistics brought me closer to realising i wanted a career in a creative pursuit. After finally finishing, and feeling like i had really missed out on the “uni experience”, i decided to tryout some short courses in fashion. Looking at the CEA and RMIT short course guides for millinery courses, I stumbled accross “footwear production”. I couldn’t believe that you could actually learn how to construct a shoe – something I, like most people, believed to be a dying art. So that was it, I booked myself into a short course, and have never looked back! That was 5 years ago.
> What is it about shoes that draws you to them?
Unless they are some gross overused gym sneakers, people tend to hold on to their shoes, regardless of if they are the fashion of the moment or not. The longer someone has owned a pair of shoes, the more individual that piece becomes – the leather creases and moulds to that persons foot, making it perfectly unique. I try to create shoes that have parts that can be replaced easily, so they’ll be wearable for years to come. I really hate the growing trend of disposable fashion. I don’t think that people buy the same way our parents did. Most stores now are flooded with cheap knock offs of more expensive designer styles, and are only expected to last the buyer a season. That’s the part of the fashion industry I despise, but i guess there is a place for everything.
I also feel like i’m drawn to shoes because of some weird cosmic link – my great uncle was a cobler back in Sicily. I only found that out after i started the course. I guess it runs in the family…
> Are there any particular designers that inspire you, if so which ones and why?
I know that he’s not the creative director anymore, but I’ve loved Martin Margiela for so many years. He just seems to meld classic with modern, chaotic with calm and ridiculous with perfectly sensible. I also love the way that designers like Walter Van Beirendonck and Bernhard Willhelm use colour and print to the max. It’s inspired me to become a little more adventurous with the use of colour in my upcoming designs.
> Tell us about your current collection…
My current collection only comprises of a couple of styles ‘Minnie’ and ‘Roman’ in a monochromatic palette. They are both a combination of classic dress boots and hi-top sneakers. I think they are the perfect complement to any woman’s wardrobe as they go with everything!
> Favourite style in the collection…
Roman in white. People need not fear the light colour – a good white polish does the wonders!
> Can you give us some hints to what is to come for the next Renee Farina collection?
Nothing but square toes and sensible heels!
Minnie (Zomp Shoez)
Roman (Zomp Shoez)
The Minnie and Roman are very strong styles; each highly wearable in both versatility and practicality. I have always had a soft spot for all-white shoes so naturally I am in love with the white Minnie; the painted sole being my favourite feature. However, I also love the contrast between the natural wood sole and the leather in the black colour-way…it’s a tough choice!
Renée Farina is one talented woman and I can’t wait to see what her next collection brings!