KARACHI: Shoe lovers would have to agree that the right pair of shoes can be the perfect accessory, and obsession. Whether its stilettos, platforms, flats or wedges, they have to be comfortable and fashionable. But having an exclusive pair of shoes? Now that’s the cherry on top.
After taking four courses at the London School of Fashion, Isma Meer launched her own shoe and handbag line under her own name in an exhibition on Friday. Her shoes are available in only one size for every colour and design, to maintain a degree of exclusivity.
“Quality and fashion are my two main priorities,” Meer says. She wishes to bring embellished, high quality shoes to Pakistan. “I was inspired by the idea of coming up with a more affordable version of top designers. Jimmy Choo’s shoes are great but with the high exchange rate, it’s a splurge.”
She started designing shoes as a hobby but has taken it on as a career. “Pakistanis are very fashion savvy and I wanted to launch my line here since it is my hometown,” she explains.
It all starts with a basic design, says Meer. After the technical drawing is made, measurements are taken of the platform, the heel and every little detail, she explains. The design is then sent to the factory for approval. “This involves a lot of couriering and sending things back and forth before the final design is approved.”
Then begins the most expensive and time-consuming part of the shoe-making process: the shoe last. A last is a mould of the approximate shape of a human foot, used in shoemaking to produce the fit of a shoe – resulting in its inside shape. “It is very important that the last is perfect,” says Meer. “Usually shoe designers work around one last for many years, which means the basic structure and shoe shape tends to be the same.” Then comes the very-important heel. “The heel is built around the same last and has an almost 50-degree arch,” she describes.
It’s the padding and the metal plate inserted in the sole that keeps the heel sturdy, she reveals to The Express Tribune. “The heel doesn’t have much to it and is not very strong on its own.”
The variety comes from the materials used: fabric, leather, colour, texture and stones. Each shoe last is designed for a particular heel height, toe shape and type of footwear.
This is followed by the “hunt” for a good leather supplier, after which, all the different types of selected materials are sampled. Once the sampling process is complete, all the minor details are tweaked and the shoe is sent off for production.
What does Meer have to offer?
“I want to bring the taste of Vogue to the Pakistani fashion market,” says Meer. With shoes ranging from flats to 13.5-centimetre double platform heels, she has shoes with leather and rhinestones – the finished product is classy and wearable.
But they are expensive, despite her efforts to make affordable designer shoes. The shoes range from Rs6,500 to Rs22,000.
But Meer claims she offers high fashion with comfort. “It is very important that the shoe is comfortable.”
She also designs python bags for her collection. “It’s the new fashion and is all over the international market,” she says.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2010.