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Cordwainers Grads Go It Alone

After working for some of the industry’s biggest names, three Cordwainers alums step out on their own.

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Atalanta Weller

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Atalanta Weller Spring 2010

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Atalanta Weller, 30

Line: Atalanta Weller

Launch season: Spring ’10

Manufactured: Portugal

Background: After graduating from London’s Cordwainers College in 2002, Weller worked for several major brands, including Clarks, Hugo Boss and John Richmond, as well as avant-garde ready-to-wear labels Gareth Pugh and Sinah Stanik. Since spring ’08, Weller has collaborated on shoe collections with hip London designer Henry Holland, who she met through mutual friends. She recently received London Fashion Week’s spring ’10 NewGen emerging talent in accessories award, helping to fund the launch of her namesake collection for spring ’10. “It’s fantastic and very valuable support,” Weller said of the award.

Design philosophy: “Balance is the key to beauty. With that in mind, [I try to] push everything else as far as it can go.”

Signature look: “A bold, architectural-yet-futuristic feel, but always with a touch of elegance.”

Inspiration for spring ’10:
“My inspiration swings from the past to the future and back again, from the colors of Pompeii to the aesthetic of ‘Star Trek’ and the architecture of Le Corbusier. I’ve also been listening to [music by] Bat for Lashes. [You’ll see] strong geometric shapes and swooping curves, with bold yet tonal colors.”

The Atalanta Weller girl: “She is a bold, intelligent woman who is not afraid to make a statement. She wants something a bit different, but always wants her shoes to make her feel fantastic.”

On going solo in a tough economy: “It’s certainly a bigger challenge, but I really feel this is an exciting time for new and creative brands. While they are perhaps more careful in the choices they make, women still want amazing shoes.”

How working for big brands prepared you for your own line: “It’s given me a great breadth of knowledge when it comes to design, development and manufacturing in different countries, and showed me how each company works entirely different.”

Retail range: $575 for shoes to $658 for boots

Distribution: Browns Focus in London


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