Artists in Residence: Diredre Wallace of deeFind Shoes

"Nearly on its own, deeFind shoes unfolded, blindly, in an afternoon," that's Dierdre Wallace, an artist who lives, breathes and thrives in San Francisco as an independent shoe designer. Hailing from her artistic roots of painting and ceramics, Dierdre propelled her aspirations to a whole new level. It began with an aha moment and has since flourished into a kick-ass brand of shoes that have graced the feet of models in this year's New York Fashion Week and local San Francisco women alike. We had a chat about the inspirations and innovations that go hand in hand into her designs.

Talk to me about your favorite element of designing shoes?

I’d say that allowing myself to be creative is really important and by and large the most crucial element of designing shoes. Creating an artistic and wearable piece of work in which I get to see worn on people's feet is huge for me.

I know that a lot of your designs are influenced by architecture — how do you combine the two so beautifully, what’s your process?

Modern architecture has always been appealing to me...dynamic angles, bold lines, audacious structural gestures. You can can see them reflected in my design aesthetic. In keeping with futurism exploration, the desired outcome was to incorporate sustainable materials, while practicing the art of exploration through passion, and fashion. It generates the whole originality at the core of the deeFind’s identity. With architecture there is a lot to draw from [literally] and it allows me to push boundaries and create concepts that are sometimes a challenge for me. Which is a good thing.

As an artist, have you seen your challenges reincarnated into advancements?

Definitely. I think with any challenge in your life, anytime you make mistakes it’s always a learning opportunity. I find that to be true for each of my collections and find that every one gets a little better. The most challenging part for me, still, is

fine tuning the balance between art, design and business. I look at branding so differently these days because of that and am able to easily identify what’s working and what’s not working.

I have to ask: how was New York Fashion Week?

You know, it was an amazing opportunity. It’s something that most [designers] dream about. I was initially invited to do one show. It was a wonderful and humbling experience that turned into two other designers asking to feature my shoes in their shows. I was really honored to be so well received by them as a newly emerging designer.

Was there any architecture or interior design there that inspired you?

It was such a crazy work experience for me, I didn’t get time to wonder around the city. It was basically me with these huge 30 boxes of shoes. But at the same time, now that you mention it, I did have this one moment. You know how it is when you're in New York and everything just feels so different from the West Coast... But amidst the chaos I had this moment when I was looking up at one of those older apartment buildings downtown and I could just feel its history and energy. You know there's a story behind that building. I feel that it also parallels with my shoes. There's definitely a story behind all of them.

What would you say to any budding designer that wants to start their own business in these times we live in?

Starting your own business is never easy— especially when pursuing entrepreneurship as a profession. There’s two parts to it: you can never let your fear hold you back; and the second part: is that you can’t give up just because things begin to get too hard. You just have to keep pushing

through because something always gives. It’s not suppose to be easy.

Can you think of a time where that happened?

You mean like every other day? Haha. One of those times that comes to mind as the most difficult was when I had a major hurdle with my manufacturers in Mexico City. I wanted to give up right then but I couldn't, because I’m not a quitter. But there was so much more that kept me going. And that was the people who believed in me and the people who love my work. When I see their eyes light up when they look at my shoes—my artwork it means the world to me.

Diedre's shoes are not only super fly, but designed with female empowerment and sustainability in mind. Her upcoming Spring 2013 collection as well as her previous lines uses alternative, and when possible, sustainable materials while also seeking out creative methods and fair business practices during production. To find out more about Dierdre's story and to check out her shoes, click here to take a look at her website.