Think you know what makes each one of Isa Tapia's
shoes a tiny revolution? It's those insane shapes, right? The looping filigrees and jaw-breaking colors? Nope. It's that for all their drama, the Puerto Rican transplant's designs are actually, you know, comfortable
. Crazy, isn't it?
Tapia may be revolutionizing the designer shoe game, but, when it comes to breaking barriers and pushing boundaries, she won't stop there. It's hard to imagine her early jobs — at Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, and Ann Taylor — as rigid, but for Tapia, the controlled environments there were stifling. After all, true creativity needs total freedom to flourish. Which is why she quit working for others in order to bring her own vision to life. Now, that leap of faith has paid off, big time. And, even though she's got eyes on the international and mass markets, she still takes the time to shape every last cut and hand-sew every sample herself. As Tapia says, perfection can be a game of millimeters, and when it comes to chasing beauty, this designer isn't giving an inch.
How I got my start
"I think a lot of people don’t really get involved in the process, especially if they’re businesspeople. I do all of my own patterns, all of my own moldings, and all of my own heels. I don’t just draw a sketch of a shoe and pass it to someone. I create all of the patterns and the castings, not just an idea or a mood board. It’s all about the millimeter I took off or added to the pattern, the way that it cuts the ankle, or how it makes your foot stand. No one can translate that for me the way I see it. If I do it myself, it hasn’t been diffused. It hasn't lost its personality or meaning."
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken
“Going out on my own. But, I think that being a creative person, I felt like it was hard for me to be creative in a controlled, corporate environment where it was about creating what was safe and what made money. There was very little risk taken in the product. I knew there was something missing. I felt like the fashion world had gotten very safe and commercial. There wasn’t enough emotion in the product that I was seeing out there. I wanted to feel that again. I think we need more people to make trends, to have a point of view, and not just follow what everyone else is doing because that’s what they think they need to do.”
What beauty means to me
"I find beauty in imperfections. The most beautiful people are the ones that possess something unique that makes them stand out."
Vintage teal dress; Isa Tapia
Pink Rabbit-Fur Heels, shop similar styles at Isa Tapia
Agate Burst Drop Earrings, $34, shop similar styles at BaubleBar
Hair by Bethany Brill; Makeup by Ashleigh Ciucci; Styled by Laura Pritchard