We’ve been a huge fan of Sevilla Smith‘s gorgeous footwear and handbags, so we were very excited when Faye agreed to do an interview with us! Not only are her shoes beautiful to look at and comfy on the feet, the story behind the brand and thoughtfulness behind the designs blow us away. Read on to learn more about her!
What is your favorite piece in your collection and why?
My absolute favorite is the Sandy. I designed the Sandy when I was still doing wardrobe in the film industry, so daily practice was a heightened awareness to what each piece of clothing/footwear said about a person/character….it had to tell stories and history. The Sandy was my very first design as a shoemaker and was a response to a ballet flat. For some reason the classic ballet flat always felt so Anglo/European to me, the balance was off for my size (I am a plus sized gal), and being in my 40’s, it felt also too juvenile. But I had to admit it is versatile for sure, but I didn’t feel connected to it, so I wanted to design a flat so minimal it could be historic or modern, and flattering to wear despite age, heritage or size. I also designed it specifically with knowledge of how machines last shoes and did a form that could not be done well/easily by machine.
What inspired you to become a maker?
I guess I have always been a maker of some sort. My father is a leather maker in the Philippines, so I grew up with the smell of leather from his downstairs mini factory. We never had very many toys, so he always pushed his daughters to make their own. I remember finding doll heads and fashioning a body with palm leaves and clothes with toilet paper. While working in the wardrobe department, I collaborated with shoemakers, dyers, tailors, seamstresses, textile artists, and milliners. I loved what they did but I was working as a supervisor, so handled more logistics, design, labor, and budgets.
I would be so jealous watching them work and create, getting lost in their craft. So when I met a random shoemaker in Barcelona, I decided to change my career and give it a go. But I would say that travel and immigrating to a foreign country has inspired my work a lot. Moving with so few of your belongings, you learn to keep things as minimal, versatile, and classic as possible.
What is something about your heritage that makes you proud?
Being Filipino, I find that I am most proud of our adaptability. Hundreds of years of colonization, along with an always less than ideal economy which has forced many to emigrate, has made us so adaptable. You see it in our language and our food. Conversations amongst Filipinos rarely occur in a singular language, we code switch unlike any other. Our foods are very Spanish, and very Malay, and very Chinese also. As someone who moved to a very anglo American community at age 10, barely speaking English, then going to Australia for some University, then now to Spain, the adaptability of my heritage really shines thru.
What is the size range of your pieces?
Size 35 up to a 42, including wide sizes in each. The bookend of our sizing represents about 1% of our sales, so I would say we have managed to be as inclusive as a micro brand in our price range can be.