By Katia Ostapets
Photography courtesy of Vince Camuto
High heels don’t normally pair with comfort – but Vince Camuto knows how it’s done. Since co-founding the internationally recognized brand, Nine West, he has been truly unstoppable in his international fashion collaborations.
After launching four footwear brands for Dillard’s Department Stores, Camuto acquired footwear licenses for BCBG Max Azria and BCBGirls. He also partnered with Tory Burch to launch her footwear collection. His namesake footwear line was born in 2005, and is one of the ways in which the designer spends time with his family – his wife Louise is the creative director and son John is involved in company’s international expansion. The collection has now grown to include garments, accessories and fragrances.
In this fashion exclusive, FAJO asked Camuto nine questions about his company, career and the ultimate topic for most women – shoes!
KATIA OSTAPETS: What are your current projects?
VINCE CAMUTO: This year is an exciting one – currently, the Vince Camuto brand is in over 30 categories. We are working on expanding it, as well as our retail locations, both domestically and internationally.
How would you describe the Vince Camuto aesthetic?
The brand is for the fashion-conscious woman, who seeks trend-driven clothing that is classic, accented with modern, unique detail and has great value.
You have been in the fashion industry for many years. What do you think has been the key change in it in the last three decades?
I think more and more women are becoming aware of fashion, and are seeking current, on-trend pieces at affordable prices. They are paying attention to accessories, and exploring the confidence they feel with a great pair of shoes or a handbag.
You have Italian roots – does that ever translate into any of your designs; do you add an Italian touch?
I’m committed to craft, comfort, style – perhaps my unwavering commitment to quality stems from my Italian roots.
What do you think is the key aspect of high-quality footwear?
It’s about the silhouette, arch, heel, fabrication and the overall construction.
What tips would you give our readers for wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time, while simultaneously feeling comfortable?
I’d suggest that you make sure the shoes you buy are comfortable when you first buy them. Well-made shoes will be comfortable both the first time you try them on, as well as hours later.
You have been behind many other successful and world-renowned brands. What do you think has been the key factor in your expansion?
Today, customers know fashion and they want a product they can rely on. If you can give them a great brand that continuously delivers style at an affordable price, they will come back, season after season.
What shoes do you wear yourself?
We recently launched Vince Camuto Men’s, which includes a footwear collection. I have many pairs, but given the weather, I’m currently wearing the classic lace-up oxfords in both black and brown.
When you need an inspiration, what do you normally do?
I look to my wife, Louise Camuto – she is my muse.