By Bettina Zilkha, Forbes
March 23, 2021
Chloe Gosselin has always had a passion for shoes. Her ultra-feminine and sophisticated designs are the results of years of research, knowledge and original thought. Chloe Gosselin shoes have been spotted on many celebrities, including Taylor Swift, Andra Day, Celine Dion, Kerry Washington, Anya Taylor Joy, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, and Jennifer Lawrence. Gosselin discussed her inspirations, and the influence this year will have on her brand going forward.
What made you want to become a footwear designer?
I've had an obsession with shoes for as long as I can remember. As a child I often drew fashion silhouettes finished with the highest of heels. Shoes are the perfect bridge between art and fashion; they are wearable sculptures that change the way you carry yourself, objects of empowerment and individual expression.
How did you get your start?
After earning a Bachelor in Fine Arts, traveling the world as a model, and becoming a mother to my daughter Sky, I had accumulated a pretty substantial collection of designer shoes - so I decided to start designing them myself. I designed my first collection while simultaneously playing with my toddler and taking evening classes at FIT. After that I traveled to Italy often, finding factories, meeting suppliers, honing my craft and building a team. I launched my first collection during New York Fashion Week in February 2014.
Before the pandemic, you sold in high-end brick and mortar stores, but now you switched to direct to consumer. How has that affected your brand and sales?
Even before the pandemic, I had grown tired of the fashion calendar and having collections dictated by the wholesale market. I believe in timeless fashion. The pressure to keep churning out new collections in large numbers pushes for quantity over quality. The product becomes obsolete and hits the sales rack after less than two months.
I am very grateful that I got to work with some of the most amazing stores in the world, and they definitely gave my brand a chance to sit next to the giants of fashion very early on. However, it was time for a change for me, and the pandemic precipitated it. Now we are selling exclusively on my website and with our longtime partner Farfetch. It is giving me the opportunity to connect with my customers and listen to their feedback. We launch new styles bi-monthly, produce in small quantities, bring back sold out styles, and do pre-orders on celebrity favorites. We are building a loyal customer base, and that's been so exciting.
What inspired your latest collection? What are your price points?
The summer collection embraces the DNA of the Chloe Gosselin brand and all its signature details, like our bamboo buckle, our ruched strap, and our mesh paneling. We are launching the new Celine sandal. We are also emphasizing comfort, with lower chunky heels and flats. It is a hopeful collection, filled with joyful colors and rich fabrics.
Prices start at $485, with most designs ranging between $550 and $750, and going up to $1,200 for our tall boots.
What are your favorite causes?
I believe that everybody should use whatever voice they are given for good. I first worked with Planned Parenthood four years ago after the election, when the future of the organization was uncertain. It is very dear to my heart. I have worked with Moms Demand Action, Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada (a local free clinic in Nevada, where Gosselin designs), Black Women's Health Imperative, WC Kitchen, and local food bank Three Square. I recently became an ambassador for the American Wild Horse Campaign, aiming to protect wild herds in the West.
I get involved in many ways; during the pandemic I had weekly Archive Sales, partnered with all my favorite charities and gave them a percentage of sales. It’s a great way to raise funds, and to start conversations with my customers about these important causes.
What do you see as the future of high-end fashion?
I think we went 360 this year! At first I thought that fashion would slow down by paring down collections, focusing on sustainability, and stepping away from over-consumerism. Now I think that we will be going back to the same pace as before - fashion weeks were back on the calendar during the pandemic. I am hoping that people will want to discover smaller brands that are focused on producing high quality product in limited quantities.
I think that people are eager to get dressed up and go out again. I think that women will want to wear heels again after over a year of being at home wearing flip-flops on Zoom calls. A lot of women have special attachments to their shoes, and I think they will cherish them even more after this unusual time.