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Women Making History: Dierdre Wallace of deeFind Shoes

Dierdre Wallace spent years searching for the perfect high-heel shoes, but with size 11 feet her searches were to no avail. After years of yearning she decided to solve her own problem; she put her background in creative arts to work and began constructing shoes for women in all sizes. Her shoe line deeFind incorporates modern aesthetics with dynamic angles, bold lines, audacious structural gestures and uses sustainable materials. As though providing drop-dead sexy shoes were not enough, deeFind shoes are handmade in humane working conditions with comparable wages and a percentage of each pair of shoes’ proceeds goes to environmental conservation and women’s services. Dierdre has pushed the envelope by delivering shoes for the everyday woman and has established a company we can all be proud to patron.

1. What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?

” Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. ”

-Coco Chanel

2. How did you get your start as a shoe designer?

One afternoon, I was online yet again searching high heels for my size 11 foot, a life changing thought developed. To design shoes for the every day woman—of every size. I began researching schools and programs to help better develop this business idea. A friend of mine attended Precott & Mackay in Berkeley, which offered a five-day intensive shoe course with Melissa Neeham. I thought this would be a great way to get a small taste and see if shoe designing would nourish my path. Through this course I learned about materials and design, pattern cutting, closing, and the actual making of a shoe.
Immediately after I followed up with a two-day intensive course, Introduction to Footwear Design, with international shoe designer Aki Choklat. We discussed brief and intensive overviews of the footwear industry, creative design techniques, how to develop ideas from individual inspiration, and how to draw and expand from those ideas. Aki Choklat also examined what became the most beneficial part to me—discussing what it actually takes to actually create a label.
These courses helped solidify my ideas and responded to the unanswered questions. Still, I left feeling overwhelmed. Could I really do this? The only thing that stood in my way was fear and I would not succumb to it. This is my dream and exactly what I had been looking for.

3. Your designs are far from basic, what inspires your styles?

Futurism. When I was thinking about my future and the direction I wanted my path to take, designing shoes was all I could see. I wanted to interpret MY future vision within the idea of futurism. These innovative and revolutionary theories can show progress in our evolution and with the thought ‘WE OWN THE FUTURE.’ In everyday life, we desire something more rigorous to get us through the certain monotony in our day. An experience that shows infinite possibilities as we step forward into our identity, following our path. This idea really shook something in me; to create bold statements with unique works of art, while creating an edgy, eco-friendly shoe. The idea of sustainability and understanding where our products come from is extremely important to me. Each season I will incorporate ideas and materials in order to reach my goal of producing a fully recyclable high-heel shoe.

4. What kind of girls do you see wearing your shoes?

I’m asked this question a lot, so I will answer in two ways. The demographics of women wearing my shoes are between 25-40, not afraid to take risks, and are fashion savvy. Though I don’t want to put any limitations on who should wear them. I would love to see a 70 year-old woman strutting around in a pair of deeFind shoes. I want to see a girl who is conservative in her style and demeanor, someone a little afraid to break boundaries, wearing my shoes. I believe deeFind is for any woman because it is all about empowering women to feel comfortable within their skin, allowing them to step into their identity and not caring about what others may say. It’s all about how you feel. deeFind is how I choose to define myself and I want my shoes to be a tool that empowers a woman to define herself.

5. What’s your favorite shoe that you’ve created?

I’ve had my special moments with them all. Since I have to pick one, I must say the Grania, which represents love. I’m really into the edgy rocker-esque style; tough, fierce, but yet sexy. That Grania I am most proud of and I believe represents my personality the best.

6. Who do you want to work with and or see wearing your shoes?

Wearing my shoes, Rhianna and Erykah Badu. I’d be so smitten! I think both these women are true representatives as to what deeFind stands for. My favorite designer was Alexander McQueen and if I had an opportunity to work with his team, words couldn’t express.

dee wallace deefind shoes
7. Any plans to expand to other accessories or do you want to stick with footwear?

Yes, I do wish to expand one day and incorporate handbags. Also, I would love to do a men’s shoe line at some point. I have a lot of ideas and I think it would be really exciting to see something different.

8. What part of shoe design is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?

Right now, the most challenging part for me is not having my designs and materials exactly how I envision them. I am forced to scale down my work due to costs and my small order size since I am such a small company and am self-funded. The other challenge has been my learning curve, since I am teaching myself along the way. Even though it has been frustrating at times, I wouldn’t trade any of it. I’m always up for a challenge! I’m so in love with deeFind, even the hard parts are fun.

9. Any advice for ladies who are just starting out in a career path similar to yours?

Yes. Don’t let fear hold you back from your dreams. Following your passion can be somewhat daunting. Sometimes you have to put everything on the line, especially if you want to be an entrepreneur. To me success is measured by the completion of a goal, not whether you succeed or don’t. The important thing is you set out to accomplish what you desire, no matter what the outcome is. My other thought is be persistent. Anything can happen with the right mindset. Just keep pushing through and remain positive when times get tough.

Keep up with Deirdre Wallace:
deeFind Shoes Website
deeFind Twitter
deeFind Facebook

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One Response to “Women Making History: Dierdre Wallace of deeFind Shoes”

  1. Someone says:

    This is a great interview! Very cool.


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