Student Profile – Simona Rusk

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Simona came to I Can Make Shoes in 2018 and has since launched her very own luxury shoe brand, SIMONA RUSK.

The debut collection, Heirloom, is a tribute to her Mum – inspired by the lavish interiors and beautiful gardens of Britain’s stately homes.

Simona has collaborated with UK-based maison Henry Bertrand to develop bespoke brocatelle fabrics for the collection – re-imagining these heritage fabrics in fresh, contemporary colourways. Read more about her shoe journey here…

Why did you decide to come to one of our courses?

I had just completed a short course on shoe design and illustration and it seemed like the perfect next step to see how an idea and illustration is translated into a physical, wearable shoe. I realised that if I wanted to improve my design skills, I needed to understand the practical side since so much of design is about problem solving.

Why did you start your own shoe brand?

I knew that I wanted to create the most beautiful shoes I could in the hope that the women wearing them would feel beautiful and confident. But the decision to take the risk and start a brand took the confluence of several things:  I wore a pair of shoes I had handmade on the ICMS course and was complimented on them. It gave me the confidence to think that what I created might actually appeal to other women as well. I was then incredibly fortunate to find a wonderful mentor who saw my designs and offered to introduce me to manufacturing partners in Italy.

What was your main inspiration for your shoe line?

I created the collection as a tribute to my mother, who passed away unexpectedly. We shared a love of interior design and art – and a passion for shoes. The Heirloom collection is inspired by the lavish interiors and beautiful gardens of Britain’s stately homes. I was very ill a few years ago and would lift my spirits by going to the Wallace collection.  I have referenced some of the furnishing details in the delicate trims and fabrics I use, while the signature heel draws inspiration from decorative plasterwork.

What are your next steps?  

Our next step is to look at options for retailing the shoes – through luxury wholesalers and boutiques. I really enjoy getting direct feedback from women by doing pop-ups and next year we will be at the National Bridal Fair in Olympia. It makes me so happy when I see a woman trying on a pair of my shoes and I see that glint in her eyes that says it is love at first sight.

What’s your favourite shoe to wear personally?

I shall be wearing a pair of the Annabel sandals at our wedding blessing in Australia at the end of this year. But my favourite shoe is the Allegra mule – it is such a statement shoe, but also incredibly comfortable to wear.