It has been a while since we’ve talked shoes on the blog, so I have great pleasure in welcoming American footwear designer Tiannia Barnes to chat footwear. Mentored by esteemed London-trained shoe designer/maker, Sissy Puccio, Tiannia has now got together her own snazzy shoe designs that she hopes inspires sexiness, timelessness and boldness. Without further ado, let’s meet the lady herself ….
Hi, my name is Tiannia Barnes. I am a shoe designer and CEO of Tiannia LLC, the TB – Tiannia Barnes Brand. I am a mother of an awesome 11 year son. I enjoy fashion, designing, traveling and spending time with close friends/family. I’m always up for an adventure!!! Live.Love.Laugh…I try my best to wake up every day with these 3 words in mind to kickstart my day.
As a small girl, did you always want to design footwear or did you have other career aspirations?
My educational and career background is not in fashion. I studied mathematics and industrial engineering in undergraduate school. I also have an MBA. My career started off in engineering for a global company. After a few years of engineering, I moved into technology. I’ve worked in the Insurance sector for many years of my career as an IT Program/Project Manager. I knew that I always loved fashion and business but subsequently didn’t study either until later in life. As a kid, I never wanted to go into a particular field. I just happened to do well in a few subjects that required thinking and creating solutions. I’ve always had a vision of me as a powerhouse…not any particular ‘job’ association.
What do you like best about being a shoe designer?
It’s liberating and creative. You take an idea, then a sketch and manifest it into a piece of art that you create and people love. Great feeling!
Your first collection, for Autumn/Winter 2015/16, is stunning and the shoes certainly inspire sexiness, timelessness and boldness. What was the inspiration behind your shoe collection?
My inspiration for my “Inspire” collection are all things that have inspired me on this journey of finding my passion and pursuing my dreams. I’m inspired by color, travel and culture, fashion and anyone living their “truth”. Hence, my collection of F/W 15’ women’s luxury shoes are all named after women who have encouraged, supported, loved and inspired me…my Mother – Jackie (RIP), both of my grandmother’s names are Pearl, my Sister – Regin, myself and my friends style and personalities can all be characterized as Jazzy; and my sandal/bootie is named Misty, after Misty Copeland. She’s AMAZING!!! I’m inspired by her story…you must look her up!
If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a shoe collection, which place would occupy your top spot?
Any place vivid and full of culture. Barcelona, Spain is definitely on my short list.
I LOVE the look of the Jackie heels – the spicy shade of mustard, the fringing and the very sexy metallic heel. Have you got a favorite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?
As a designer, all are my faves, however the first shoe that I had ever sketched was the Jackie, plus it’s my mother’s namesake so if I had to choose that would be it. However, my clients seem to love the Regin!!!
Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2016, what colours, inspiration and styles will you be featuring in your next collection?
I’ve designed a wedge for the summer and an espadrille that I love. My color palette includes colors of the sunset and hues of oceans in the Caribbean.
Hypothetically speaking, which famous lady do you feel would be the ideal “face”of your brand?
I love what Oprah stands for and her business savvy. All around the TB woman that would be able to wear every shoe in my collection effortlessly is Queen Bey – Beyonce. I have created a line strongly targeted towards fashionably conscious women on the go. I envision the TB – Tiannia Barnes women as a go-getter, confident, chic, timeless and empowered. Whether she works in corporate, owns her own business, philanthropy, stays at home and occasionally likes to hit the town, etc….she has a TB shoe that matches her attitude – bold, fearless with a little edge!
Your luxury leather and suede shoes are constructed in Italy although designed by yourself in the USA. Being based in the USA, are you able to ship overseas?
Yes, my global logistics carrier is actually headquartered in Italy, but has US based network of warehouses/operations in New York, Miami, and LA.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
My everyday go to shoe is the Pearl. Mainly because it’s a flat and it goes with everything. I do a lot of running around during the week so I need comfort for on-the-go. You will find me in business casual attire for most of the week, but I feel most at peace and comfort in some combination of a nice pair of jeans, blazer, and sweater, cute shirt using accessories and my shoes as my pop. I also love elegant events where I can really “dress up” and be adorned with a gorgeous gown, shoes, and jewels.
Do you have any favorite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
Yes, aside from my own I like Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Anthropology, Free People…I like personality, uniqueness, variety and quality, all things I find at these stores and others. I also love visiting cities that have independent boutiques. You find the best pieces at boutiques.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’m excited about the shoe new line that I’m designing. With fashion week ongoing globally I’ve seen a few really chic jackets out this season that are hot.
Boots or Shoes?
Sandals are my favorite…maybe because I love the seasons in which you would wear them. I think designers get more creative when it comes to sandals so there are lots of variety in styles to choose from in the SS seasons.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc. so that my readers can learn more about Tiannia Barnes.
Thank you for coming onto the blog Tiannia and I wish you all the best in 2016! To end the year, I like to ask you dear readers the same question as I ask my interviewees – boots or shoes? Do tell, I’d love to know!
Photo Credits: Tiannia Barnes