The shoe designer calls on the past and embraces the future
Some of Joanne Stoker’s shoes bring to mind psychedelic prisms reminiscent of the seventies, others channel the playful Pop Art of the sixties, and yet they all look and feel as if they belong in the now. Fittingly, each collection is inspired by a year in history with particular cultural and political significance.
Her design prowess is obvious to the eye, and Jimmy Choo sees it too—he spotted Stoker’s talent early and mentored her before she launched her own line. Since then she’s collaborated with Matthew Williamson and Dune and has picked up numerous awards, including the highly prestigious Vogue Talents Award.
Here, the designer reveals how her first pair of heels at age five (with glitter lightening strikes along the sides) inspired her love of shoes—a love that’s never ended.
When did your shoe obsession begin?
My mum has always loved fashion and was an amazing dressmaker so growing up I had endless unique clothes and outfits. From the age 4 or 5 we would shop for shoes to match. That’s where my obsession started to develop.
Did you have a favorite pair of shoes growing up?
My favorite pair of shoes was the first pair of high heels at only 5 although not too high! They were slightly pointy court shoes – 80s style – as it was 1988, in black velvet with silver glitter lightening strikes on them. I wore them to my parents friends new years party and felt so grown up.
How would you sum up your career journey until now? 10 years have flown by. I started in fashion and textiles, moved into graphic design and architectural model making and then onto shoes and bags. Now I’m looking back at where I started in fashion to develop other products to match my shoes and bags.
What inspired the colors and shapes of your latest collection?
Josef Albers was a huge inspiration as you can see, madmen in the late 1960s early 70s and Enoch light the musician who then collaborated with Josef Albers. The colors are very reminiscent of this period too mixing brights with pastels and stripes and the tan brown hombre mixes on the mule Alexa and Woody shoes.
Where do you go for design inspiration in London?
What music do you listen to when you design?
At the moment I’m working on AW16 and my collection is very music Inspired – I’m listening to early 1970s, Bowie, Roxy music and I really love Sally Oldfield who is Mike Oldfield sister. My next collection is 1973.
How long does it take from concept to the shoe appearing in stores?
It takes time – around about one year, it is such a long process. Choosing lasts, leathers, patterns and production all take time with shoes – however the bags are so quick I would say three months for those maximum. The process is becoming quicker, however as my factory is only 15 minutes from me now, and in London. Which helps hugely and saves time on travel.
What’s the best way to find and buy your shoes?
My own online store ships globally too so anyone from around the world can order them there.