Designer Spotlight: Sydney Brown

By Kate | Women
Posted Feb 7, 2013

We are absolutely besotted with Sydney Brown -her eponymous (vegan) line offers paired down aesthetic and sculptured lines that completely captivated us in when we first came cross her booth at Capsule in NYC last season. Then we discovered her ethics: vegan to its core, the brand uses eco-firendly products such as coconut insoles, wooden soles, recycled and sustainable uppers – all with an eye to the cradle-to-cradle life cycle. We caught up with Sydney to learn more:

1.What’s your [design] background?

Before shoes, I worked as a music promoter in Tokyo for 10 years. As I transitioned into shoes, I completed design and shoe-making apprenticeships in Tokyo and Los Angeles.

2. What does eco-fashion mean to you?

Being respectful to all living creatures and the planet, and also minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing.

3. How would you describe your line?

It is as sustainably-made as possible and also animal friendly, with materials sourced in Italy and produced in Los Angeles. It has a very distinctive edge and luxuriousness while still being consciously constructed.

4. You practice very careful production – how did you come this desire, and how difficult has it been to find manufacturers that meet your criteria?

When I began the brand, I emphasized sustainable production. Executing this though was practically impossible with the existing factories. We worked with five factories in four countries – UK, Italy, Portugal, USA – none of whom were interested in evolving or modifying their already existing working practices. Because of this, we are now in the process of building our own small factory here in LA, which we can control completely.

5. Kate Fletcher is an advisor to the line – how did she come to be involved?

I came across a few of her publications and realized that she is probably the top person in her field – a true pioneer of sustainable fashion. As there are very few shoe brands that are involved in sustainable manufacturing, she took an interest and has become my sustainability advisor.

6. If you could give advice to a young designer, what would you tell them?

Keep actively learning and exploring new territories.

7. What is in the future for the brand?

We are expanding the collection into new realms for SS14 as well as soon launching our eshop. Stay tuned!

8. Where in the world can consumers find the line?

Assembly NY, Henrik Vibskov in Copenhagen, Le Coup in Berlin, Edition in Tokyo, and Weltenbuerger in LA. For a complete list of shops go to www.sydney-brown.com

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