NEW TYPE #21: Kendall Miles INTERVIEW

May 23, 2017 3:00 PM

“My passion is shoes. Kendall Miles shoes are beautiful, alluring and handcrafted in Italy: the perfect pair for the woman who knows who she is and where she wants to go.”

TWELV Magazine recently spoke with Kendall Miles the founder and design director of the sought-after luxury shoe brand known as, Kendall Miles. The line is named after Kendall and her beloved brother, Miles. She is inspired by fashion of the 1940’s and 1950’s, from these era’s she took with her the importance of delicate detailing and keeping it super feminine. Kendall Miles Fall/Winter 2016 collection exemplifies an independent, feminine and sensual woman who isn’t afraid to stand out. 




1. You were born and raised on the south side of Chicago. How did growing up in your hometown shape you as an artist?

It’s given me an international perspective and has expanded my mind. I grew up in Hyde Park, a diverse, intellectually sophisticated community. It was inspirational to be surrounded by so many successful professionals, entrepreneurs, and scholars, not only from Chicago, but also from all over the world. Also, Chicago is very cultured in and of itself. It’s a city that encourages individuality and uniqueness, and the environment teaches you how and when to fight for what you believe in.


2. Starting Kendall Miles from your campus apartment at the University of Southern California is quite a feat. What brought you to start your own venture so early on?

From a very young age I loved shoes—shoes that had sculptural silhouettes and were made of sumptuous leather with handsome, skillfully wrought hardware. I began drawing shoes in my college apartment as a way of coping with a breakup. I created designs on a simple sketchpad, and when I had developed what I thought could be considered a collection, I showed my mom and asked her to help me start a business. With my family’s support, we recruited an international team with deep expertise in the luxury shoe industry and a broad understanding of the global fashion market.


3. Do your designs reflect your personal everyday style, or do they show a more avant-garde side? 

They most definitely reflect my personal everyday style, and I think that’s what makes designing so easy for me. I design things that I think are beautiful, shoes that I can’t wait to wear. I use fashion as a tool to make statements and share intimate revelations, intentions, and personality traits.


4. What sources of inspiration do you most often turn toward?

My biggest inspiration comes from a personal desire for individualism and a fascination with the vintage designs from the 1940s-1960s. I mainly study vintage Rover Vivier, Manolo Blahnik, Maison Margiela, Salvatore Ferragamo, Mabel Julianelli, and Beth Levine.


5. Do you see yourself as a lifetime entrepreneur, or do you one day hope to work in a design team for a larger fashion house?

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and was constantly watching and learning as my parents strived for success, so carving my own path has been embedded into my DNA. I respect entrepreneurship for what it stands for, what it teaches you about yourself, business, and life in general, and how it brings undisputed meaning to life. But, I couldn’t see myself as a serial entrepreneur. The stress I’ve endured from entrepreneurship is unparalleled!


6. What kind of woman do you have in mind when designing under the Kendall Miles brand?

For those who live according to their own standards, long for a disruption to their everyday routine, take risks and choose to live life fearlessly. Mentally, she is very strong, well-researched, opinionated, socially conscious, and passionate about everything she does. She might be in her 20’s, or her 40’s or 50’s. Regardless, she presents herself with the utmost elegance and class, and demands your full attention when she presents herself. 


7. What should we expect from the Fall-Winter 2017 collection? 

I have a library of shoe embellishments that spans an entire wall in my office. Its shelves are packed with the most wondrous, exquisitely crafted components that I find at Lineapelle every year, from luminous crystals and exotic feathers, to lustrous metal buckles, studs, and chains. Using these timeless elements for inspiration allows me to transcend trends. For Fall-Winter 2017, snippets of the most sensual furs resonated with me and inspired the line the most.


8. When you're not working, what occupies your time?

Outside of design, I love exercising, cooking, attending church, and studying subjects that I’m curious about. Right now, I’m learning about color theory and the structural integration of digital marketing.


9. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes that you couldn't live without?

The gold “Michelle” by Kendall Miles! It’s the shade of bronzy gold that makes it my favorite. Every time I put them on, my skin immediately appears more radiant. I wear them at least 4 times a week.


10. What advice can you offer to young designers hoping to be where you are one day?

Go after what you love and surround yourself with a supportive network of people. I’ve learned that it actually takes more strength to need a team, because it can’t be done alone. It’s also important for young entrepreneurs to focus energy on things they can build and improve upon, instead of things that are out of their control.








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