Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Liam Fahy

Photo Courtesy Of Liam Fahy

YOU WERE BORN IN HARARE, ZIMBABWE AND GREW UP ON A SNAKE FARM, CONTINUE THE STORY FROM THERE: WHY FOOTWEAR? AND WHY WOMEN’S SHOES?
I was studying developmental psychology and narrowly chose footwear design over psychology. I didn't want to study for seven years, and had wanted to have my own shoe company since I was about 14. I chose women’s shoes after trying out all the other types of footwear first. Women’s footwear, especially in the super luxury market, allows the designer to be far more creative. It’s more expressive and sexy than other categories.

WHERE DID YOU LEARN THE CRAFT? 
I studied at De Montfort University, the best place to study real footwear making and design. Then I worked for sneaker companies in China for a while learning the technology. When I got tired of that I won the Fashion Fringe and was able to learn how the Italians make luxury footwear in Bologna. There are so many types of footwear and the processes are always developing so I like to think I'm always learning.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK?
By luck. My girlfriend gave me a small article, torn off from a "Metro" newspaper, which was announcing the Fashion Fringe competition to be judged by Manolo Blahnik. I gave it a go and won which lead me to design for Rupert Sanderson.

HOW DOES YOUR CULTURAL HERITAGE INFLUENCE YOUR ARTISTRY?
It's quite a mix. I was born in Zimbabwe. My father is Irish, my mother is Portuguese/English and I live in London which is more multicultural than anywhere in the world. Each one of the shoes I produce is named after someone I know, I try to get as many Irish/Celtic names in there as I can. And each collection has some inspiration from Africa, whether the vibrant colours, materials or just the symbols and shapes. Africa is a never ending source of inspiration, the trick is translating it into luxury. Every shoe we make comes with a small dust bag that is made by a charity we support in Zimbabwe. The Shingirai Trust, a group of women (an NGO) that supports orphans.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
I love learning. With every project I do; designing shoes, accessories, websites, books, furniture or cooking food, I love the process more than the result. As Confucius said, “Choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life.” I think if anyone decides to have a career in fashion they must find out what it is that they enjoy about it. Don't do it for the money because the money rarely trickles down past the luxury groups, and the hours are longer than in any other business sector.

WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB DO YOU LIKE THE LEAST?
Fashion is becoming less about talent and more about hype. The highest bidder always wins. I guess it's no different to pop music.

ANY TIPS ON HOW NOT TO RUIN THE PERFECT OUTFIT WITH THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES?
I think you should start with the shoes and then decide on the outfit. My tip is to choose one thing to show off. Don’t’ look like a Christmas tree with all the bells, whistles, colours and the kitchen sink. One of my favourite quotes is by Bruno Munari, 'To progress is to simplify, not to complicate.” Another great tip is to only wear our shoes. You can’t go wrong.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PREFERENCE FOR WHAT A WOMAN SHOULD WEAR?
I like to see women wearing things that show off their personality or have some degree of individuality no matter how small. It's all about expression and doing your own thing. Do something random just because you can.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR OWN STYLE?
Very simple. Black and white. No logos. Kind of like the guy in “The Book of Mormon” poster on the London tube adverts. I’m very serious about what socks I wear though. It’s all about the socks!

2 comments:

  1. Hahaha, that last sentence. He's a eccentric and charming.

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