Picture that awestruck expression that takes over your face when you're instantly mezmerized by the perfect pair of stilettos.You know exactly which item in your closet you can pair them with, and you can't see yourself walking out of the store without them. We've all been there before haven't we? I believe most women share at least a slight weakness when it comes to nice shoes. Dandreia Bethel, of course, is no exception. This 28 year old luxury shoe designer admitted to actually crying when meeting the founders of Gianmarco Lorenzi, one of her favorite shoe brands! (Who wouldn't cry under these circumstances though?) I met with this shoe enthusiast this week to learn more about the story behind her shoes and what the Dandreia Bethel brand has to offer.
ElleStyle: How long were you designing shoes?
Dandreia Bethel: I've been designing shoes since 2008. This was two years after graduating the College of the Bahamas with a degree in Fine Arts. I then went to Milan in 2011 to recieve my certification in shoe design.
ElleStyle: When did you realize you wanted to design shoes?
Dandreia Bethel: I always loved shoes. When I'm shopping, I shop for shoes first, and find the outfit to match. After two years of trying to find my niche as an artist, I decided that I should incorporate my love of shoes in the equation.
ElleStyle: Which shoe designers do you admire the most?
Dandreia Bethel: Gianmarco Lorenzi, of course! I also love Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, and Giuseppe Zanotti.
|"Dania" from the "Stripe my Shoe" Collection. Photo by Darrien Rahming|
ElleStyle: Describe the general process you go through when creating your shoes?
Dandreia Bethel: First, I choose a theme. After I choose a theme, I put style ideas together. Then, I choose a color trend depending on the current season of the theme selection.
ElleStyle: Where do you draw inspiration?
Dandreia Bethel: Anything! I once did a collection called 'Ocean Oasis', and designed around things from the sea. The 'Stripe My Shoe' Collection (her most recent collection) was inspired by a skirt! Once something captures my interest, I can move from there.
ElleStyle: You recently participated in Fash|Art. How was tghat experience? Did you face any challenges? How did you overcome them? (Fash|Art is a Bahamian event that showcases emerging fashion designers and visual artists)
Dandreia Bethel: It was an awesome experience. I'm happy that I participated because I learned a lot about the business aspects of the industry. The main challenege, however, was the shipping of the shoes. They arrived three days before the show so I was on edge a little.
|"Dania" from the "Stripe my Shoe" Collection. Described by Bethel as the brainchild of the collection. Photo by Darrien Rahming|
ElleStyle: What does fashion mean to you?
Dandreia Bethel: It determines how people see you, and how you see yourself. Fashion is LIFE! It influences the very rich and very poor. For example, a vagrant man makes a belt to hold his pants up;that's fashion!
ElleStyle: Define your personal style?
Dandreia Bethel: Simple, Elegant, Classy, Sassy, and some Sexy!
ElleStyle: Which shoe trend do you think we all will regret ten years from now?
Dandreia Bethel: Creepers! I never liked that trend, but if it suits your personality; go for it!
|"Catherine" from the "Stripe my Shoe" Collection. Photo by Darrien Rahming|
"Your personality should be expressed on your feet!"
ElleStyle: Where can we purchase your shoes?
Dandreia Bethel: Profiles98 Magazine recently opened their online boutique. My shoes are available on the website. You can also purchase via personal contact, email, or facebook.
Meeting with Dandreia was truly a breath of fresh air! I admire her spirit and her passion. Soon, her designs will be gracing the red carpet on the feet of Hollywood's hottest celebrities. Keep up the good work Dandreia!