It’s the Holy Grail of fashion: a high heeled shoe that’s both fabulous and functional. We lovers of heels regularly sacrifice comfort for style, but thanks to dedicated designers like Kim Dingman and Marc Scepi of Auri Footwear, suffering for shoes may soon be a thing of the past.
Marc studied industrial design at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, then an internship at New Balance led him to the world of footwear. Meanwhile Kim studied footwear design at FIDM in Los Angeles and later launched Jen + Kim – the customizable shoe brand that we discovered last year. The pair bring together ingenuity and creative vision with spectacular results.
The designers say that one of their ultimate ambitions is to “become internationally known for fusing technology with high fashion in footwear.” From the looks of it, it seems they are well on their way!
What was the first high heeled shoe you ever designed?
Marc: They Betty G from our Fall 2011 collection
Kim: The 1940’s from my personal collection at Jen + Kim Shoes.
What’s it like working as a design duo?
We have a good balance. One of us is however more technically oriented (Marc) while the other is more fashion oriented (Kim). We have a mutual level of respect for one another that lets us be open minded and free with our ideas.
How do fashion trends influence your design process?
They are so important, as if you’re off on what will work for the season, the whole collection looks off. You have to be in the lead with trends, not too fast because people then don’t understand your collection, but not too slow because then people think of you as dated.
What do you think about difficult high heels on the runway?
I think, if AURI made them, they’d be super comfortable and the models wouldn’t have to worry about any runway fumbles.
At what age is it appropriate for a girl to start wearing heels?
Kim: 16? I wanted to wear heels the moment I saw a pair but it takes some time to develop balance and there is nothing worse than someone wearing heels who doesn’t know how to walk in them.
If you could have only one pair of heels in your wardrobe, which would they be?
Our Fall Leona. They are honestly the most comfortable pair of pumps I have ever put on and the taupe sand snake is a perfect color for Fall AND Spring.