Meet Katie Revie, the designer from New Zealand behind exciting footwear label REVIE launched in early 2014. Katie chats about utilising her architectural training to design houses for the feet, her inspirations and opening her first flagship on Auckland’s iconic shopping street.
The Fashion Conversation: Why do you design shoes? Especially after studying architecture?
Katie Revie: Architecture doesn’t stop with buildings it is a study of ergonomics and “designing” for the protection of the body. In essence building layers or skins. Shoes and footwear fall into a uniquely distinctive category within this as we almost have a constant physical connection with the ground and shoes become the skin between the two and house the feet. It’s an intimate form of architecture. There is a common misconception that architecture is fixed and “hard”.
TFC: What is your design process? How do you get your inspiration?
KR: The process tends to stem from the materials I use and the investigation of materiality whether it is carved timber incorporated through the heel of the shoe, or creating textures by cutting or finishing of the leather in a unique manner. This then translates through to a range plan where I make sure there is a shoe for any possible occasions.
TFC: What is your current inspiration?
KR: I am just about to start designing the Southern Hemisphere SS16/17 collection and am looking at how soft volumes can be incorporated to create texture and interest yet still be functional – I’m not sure where it will end up yet!
TFC: Who is the REVIE woman?
KR: She is a woman who is not defined by age. She is ambitious, intelligent and independent. She appreciates quality and has an edge.
TFC: What has been one of the most challenging things about starting REVIE?
KR: When you run your own business everyday has its own “theme” which is fantastic. I love the diversity, however you do have to be constantly switching from designer, administrator and manager. The most challenging thing is to switch off and just take time out!
TFC: You have recently opened the first REVIE flagship, tell us more.
KR: We had been on the look out for a new showroom when we were shown the premises on Ponsonby Road, Auckland. It was luck that I was the first to view them – as we signed up then and there. The space had everything we wanted for REVIE to develop; a stunning showroom/office upstairs with the opportunity to open our first Flagship store downstairs and on top of that alongside so many fabulous stores on Ponsonby Road. I knew this opportunity wasn’t worth passing up. A few months earlier we had a pop up store along the road and knew that it was a great area for the brand. It was a naturally progression even if it was fast. It also allows online buyers to come and view our collections and it completes the vision for the way the shoes are viewed.
TFC: What do you think is the future of footwear?
KR: I believe there is resurgence for quality-crafted products. People also have a thirst for the process and craft of shoemaking and the shoemaking industry as we have lost so many of these skills in NZ within the last 30-40 years.
TFC: What does the future hold for REVIE?
KR: We hope to build a presence in Australia and eventually the Northern Hemisphere. We also plan to create a REVIE collection for men and a staples range of the REVIE classics!
TFC: What was your highlight of 2015?
KR: I would definitely have to say opening the first REVIE flagship store. Also, establishing relationships with some fabulous young New Zealand designers who we stock in the REVIE flagship – Lucy McIntosh and Mia Undone.