This week I’m in my element – I’m a “boots” girl interviewing Karina Oikonomidou-Ikonomova, designer and creative director of luxury brand Karina IK who specialise in drop dead gorgeous knee high boots, uber trendy ankle boots and sky high heeled shoes. The boots make me go weak at the knees and it is a real pleasure to have Karina and her designs on the blog .. welcome Karina…
Hi! I’m Karina Ikonomova-Oikonomidou – most people call me Kaya. I love to talk about shoes and the quality of things. I like beauty, I am in love with leather, the process of leather tanning and shoe-making.
As a small girl did you always want to design footwear?
Not always, it all started during my foundation degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design (UAL). There I pursued my passion for leather and developed interest in working in 3D and the most relevant choice seemed to be footwear at that time. I have thought about it and came to realise that footwear is the key to how we look and feel wherever we go and whatever we do. Shoes are so important and can really tell a lot about the lifestyle, and personal traits of the person wearing the shoes. So I embarked on learning how to make the best shoes, and learn about construction and comfort.
What do you like best about the process of being a shoe designer?
The process of sourcing, product development – when the 2D idea turns into a 3d object. I love that my work required me to travel a lot and meet with different people for all over the world. I get inspired by the process of developing a new shoe/ range itself and its like a viscous circle. I realise that I’m lucky to have found the job that make me happy as its a day to day activity and even in my dreams I am always connected to the work I’m doing, I get a lot of inspirational dreams!
Your first collection for Autumn/Winter 2015/16 is entitled ‘The Opus Magnum Collection’ and consisting of 10 styles in 13 colours. What was the inspiration behind your shoe collection and collection title?
Opus Magnum in translation from Latin means the Great Work. It is usually referred to an art work. I called my first range The Opus Magnum Collection as it hasn’t been just another range of a new fashion brand. I have given a lot of thought to creating this range and building the brand’s philosophy. It has been years of study and research throughout my university degree and postgraduate study and finally I have come to bring it to light and share it with people. I hope people not only like and wear the shoes I have created but also get inspired by the idea behind the range and brand. The inspiration comes from geometry and sacred geometry- the principles of life. A lot of architectural references have inspired me a lot and the attention to detail that is key for all the architects is the core for Karina IK creations as well. I want to give this kind of exclusivity to my clients. Personal involvement and personal touch on every creation at Karina IK.
If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a shoe collection, which place would occupy your top spot (and why?)
I find inspiration in the most ordinary places, and to feel inspired I need to be relaxed. I like travelling in general, but to feel relaxed I need to be “in the zone”- that’s probably a warm country, better a small town by the sea. I like Italy so I would say a place like Portofino, or Marche area where the footwear district is with all the concentration of the leathers and newest technologies for shoe production – that would be my number one place for inspiration. I like discovering new places too, and I have never been to Asia yet, I have many friends there so I would love to see it for myself and I think that it could well be my next spot for finding inspiration! It’s a whole part of the world that I haven’t yet discovered and I have to go.
Personally I LOVE the look of the new collection. Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you have designed?
Thank you! This is such a great feeling – to hear when people admire what I have created, to know it’s not just me, and my friends that like it haha! My favourite one is NIN the full alligator thigh high boots made from 3 alligators. How can you not like it? It is so classic and powerful. It is feminine but at the same time conveys such power that nobody will wanna mess with you!:)
Looking ahead to spring/summer2016, what colours and styles will you be featuring in your next collection?
The Spring/Summer 16 range will be more vibrant than the Fall/Winter16 and will consist of luxury skins as always, such as alligator and python but this time will be combined with contrasting nylon net and textile fabric. The range will be completed in earthy colours with some vibrant colour of a sea wave and apricot. The collection is inspired by geometry as a sequel to Opus Magnum, but this time the direction is more focused on simple geometry.
The Karina IK woman need exclusivity in her life, as she has seen the world and appreciates quality and rarity. Hypothetically speaking, which female lady do you feel would be the ideal ‘face’ of your brand?
Your luxury leather and reptile skin shoes are handcrafted by artisans in Italy and I adore your attention to detail. They are extremely stylish and covetable as your brand is exclusive and not commercially oriented. Although based in London, are you able to ship overseas?
Thank you, yes indeed we ship worldwide as we have customers all around the world. Women need exclusivity, as each woman is unique. Karina IK creates products but also offers service for its customers. We can ship overseas and the customers can also give us their shoes back if anything needs to be fixed – we offer a service to rejuvenate the shoes in other words to fix anything that needs to be fixed, we offer a guarantee for lifetime.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I am a moody person and it all depends on my state of mind. To work I like to be well dressed, I usually wear the custom made IK flats that I have designed few years ago but these days I like to wear YER pumps from the AW16 collection, as wearing heels is very stimulating – makes me more focused.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ? (apart from your own!)
I love to go Dover St Market, as I find many great new designers and its very open atmosphere there, I like the people in the shop, both the sales assistants and the customers. I also love Matches, I think they always have great selections. For online, I guess it would be Moda Operandi and Net-a-Porter.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
The Opus Magnum Spring 16 (OMS16) sandals are on top of my list!! you will know what I mean when you see them:) But aside from my obsession- I need to get one of Olympia Le-Tan clutches with the Disney film posters. I love them!
Boots or Shoes?
Can’t choose!! But if I have to – shoes. If the shoes are good you can have one pair that will go with everything!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that my readers can learn more about Karina IK Shoes.
Thanks for the chat Karina… I’m so looking forward to seeing the Spring collection too – the colours sound as though it’ll be an amazing collection. As far as those alligator thigh high boots go…
All photos have been published with kind permission from Karina IK