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Hetty Rose: how to create beautiful shoes from old kimonos

Shoe designer Henrietta Samuels makes beautiful bespoke shoes from kimono remnants. Here's an excerpt of her interview in Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Hetty Rose by Lesley Barnes
Hetty Rose by Lesley Barnes.

You make bespoke shoes… if I wanted a pair of shoes for myself how would the process work?
I create a collection each season from which clients can choose a design, then they decide which vintage Japanese kimono fabric they would like their shoes made up in. Clients can alter the shape and height of the heel so that the shoes are totally unique to them. I usually meet them personally if they are UK based, and we have tea whilst I measure their feet and bring them fabric samples to muse through. It’s a very interactive purchase, with the client involved in every step of the design because I want them to have an emotional attachment to the shoes so that they will treasure them and love wearing them. I email them photos during the process of making the shoes so they can see them being created. At the halfway point they are ready for a fitting and after that I finish off the sole and attach the heels. The whole process takes around six to eight weeks and prices start from £350. With international clients everything is done via email – it’s exciting for them to receive a pair of shoes all the way from a little workshop in England.

How else can someone get a pair of your shoes?
Following increased sales and press attention we have decided to extend the Hetty Rose brand to a wider audience, who will be able to own a precious piece of designer footwear at a more affordable price point and without the long wait for a pair of bespoke shoes. Our Ready to Wear collection features some of our best selling styles in kimono fabrics, and can be bought directly from our website. In the future I plan to add more accessories such as bags, baby shoes, homewares and ties for men…

Read the rest of this interview with Hetty Rose in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, alongside interviews with 44 other ethical fashion designers and 30 fabulous fashion illustrators. You can buy the book here.


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2 Responses to “Hetty Rose: how to create beautiful shoes from old kimonos”

  1. natasha says:

    Such an interesting piece! I have just moved to Singapore from the UK and there are stunning Kimonos everywhere. The prints are mind blowing and the details are beautiful. Would make great shoes. I love how you feel like you are getting some custom made shoes too – choosing fabrics etc.

  2. I saw some samples in che camille in glasgow….and close up Hetty Rose shoes are just amazing! think I might have to save up for a pair……wonder if they give discounts for small feet!

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