60s inspired catie coscino

Shoes of Prey x Janie Bryant Launched at Nordstrom Oakbrook

Friday, May 08, 2015 Catie Coscino

Attention all future fashion designers: Shoes of Prey has launched a Design Your Own Shoe studio at Nordstom in Oakbrook Center!  Shoes of Prey is an Australian-based retailer that allows the consumer to design their own custom shoes right down from the shoe style, heel height, materials, inscriptions and more.  Then, the shoes are handcrafted by artisan shoemakers and sent out 4-6 weeks later.  The process is simple and fun, and that's why it works.  Now, with or without an appointment, you can go to Nordstrom at Oakbrook Center in Oakbrook, IL and design your own shoes with the help of a stylist to walk you through the whole process, start to personalized finish.

Shoes of Prey was born in 2009 when co-founder, Jodie Fox, met someone in her travels that would allow her to commission shoe designs.  As her collection grew, friends began to take notice and eventually asked her to design shoes for them as well.  Meanwhile, co-founders, Michael Fox and Mike Knapp, were working at Google.  With their tech background and Jodie's idea, they were able to come together to create an amazing site that has received serious recognition and a huge customer base.  The Oakbrook launch marks their 6th US location.

Designer collaborations are nothing new to Shoes of Prey.  Most recently, they partnered with Janie Bryant: an Emmy-winning costume designer, known best for her work on AMC's Mad Men and HBO's Deadwood.  Her 60's inspired Shoes of Prey collection is comprised of 7 styles that she hopes makes shoppers-turned-designers feel "sexy and strong at the same time."

Just a fraction of the materials that can be utilized in your designs.

Last night, they threw a launch party with Jodie Fox and Janie Bryant in attendance.  At the event in the women's shoe department at Nordstrom, example pairs were displayed in all different colors, styles and textures to get the creative juices flowing.  Hor'dourves and drinks were served as everyone excitedly sifted through the fabric swatches that were strewn about the space while waiting to create their perfect pair.  There were also sample pairs in US sizes 2.5-15 for attendees to try on as they were walked through their seemingly endless options.

Consumers can choose from 12 classic styles, or one of the 7 from Bryant's collection.  Colors and patterns are available in 170+ materials, like soft leather, genuine fishskin and vegan leather.  Heel heights can be anywhere from flat to 6 inches, and there are multiple styles of heel available, for example one can choose a stiletto or wedge. There are also options for people whose feet are two different sizes.  Price ranges for the base shoe from $139 - $209 + a $50 craftsmanship fee and depending which embellishments, materials and inscriptions are added, additional fees apply.  The price may sound a little high, but the price per wear on a pair of shoes that you have designed perfectly for yourself probably won't be much.  I will say one thing, though, designing shoes is not as easy as you may think- heading to the Oakbrook location to walk through it with a stylist is my recommendation.  If you aren't local, Shoes of Prey's website offers tips on how to get inspired and be practical without sacrificing style when creating your shoes!

Once it was my turn, I was lucky enough to have Fox herself help me get started.  For starters, when I had tried on a sample pair, I actually went one full size down from my average 6.5, putting me at a 5.5 or the Australian size 36.  I chose one of Bryant's styles and swapped out a block heel for comfort as my foundation, then I had fun with colors, textures and embellishments, adding a tassel at the back and a personal inscription on the sole.  My goal was to create a pair of shoes that made a statement with my predominantly black and white wardrobe, would be comfortable enough to wear all day and looked like nothing I had ever seen before. The result is crazy, yes, but hey- I wanted to have fun with it and I definitely did.  The hardest part is just waiting for them to arrive!

I know, I'm insane.  You can make normal shoes if you want...

The best, surprisingly, is yet to come.  Nordstrom and Shoes of Prey are allowing customers to return their custom creation at any Nordstrom store if they do not work out for any reason.  They will offer to have them remade free of charge or one can opt for a full refund.  So, this process is literally risk-free and will most likely result in you receiving your perfect shoe in every way.  I'll update this post with a real photo once my shoes come in- look out for it along with my review.  In the mean time, Nordstrom at Oakbrook is holding Shoe School this Saturday 5/9/15 and Sunday 5/10/15.  Regular tickets are available for free, just requiring you to RSVP!  VIP tickets are available for $10 and you will receive 10% off your purchase along with it.  If you plan on going crazy like I did, opt for the VIP- it will pay for itself in savings.  Have fun and enjoy the creative process!

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