Tabitha Simmons is a true fashion success story. She’s a model turned successful stylist turned respected designer. Born in England, the Vogue contributing editor launched her eponymous shoe line in 2009 and was named a runner-up for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize in 2012. And while this fashion force has earned massive respect in the fashion world thanks to an impeccable eye and her knack for designing both beautiful and statment-making footwear, it seems this is only the beginning: This month it was announced Simmons is expanding her offerings by introducing a selection of pouches. We’re hoping bags are not far behind. (We’re making room in our closets just in case.) We get to know this gorgeous designer on the rise, wife and mother of two in our new Women of Style interview.
Get To Know The Stylist-Slash-Designer
On How She Decided To Get Into Fashion
Photo: Craig McDean
"I actually wasn’t pursuing a career in fashion—I was studying TV and film set design. Then I was scouted to be a model. As a model, I was given the opportunity to see how fashion shoots were created which led to my interest in styling."
On Where She Finds Inspiration
A beautiful view captured on one of Tabitha's trips to Florence, Italy. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"Everywhere. I’m always inspired by travel and my English heritage."
On How Being A Stylist Affects Her Designs
"As a stylist, you are always looking for what’s next, what’s new. As a designer, I want to create timeless, classic shoes that can be worn season after season."
On Her Creative Process
Tabitha Simmons Belfy point-toe flats in the factory. Photo: Courtesy of Tabitha Simmons
"It always begins with an instinct and then I research by browsing books and visiting galleries. That turns into sketching and creating new styles, and once samples are made I’m very hands-on with the product."
On Being A Runner-Up For CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize In 2012
Tabitha with CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize fellow runner-up, Jennifer Meyer, and winner, Greg Chait. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"It meant a lot to be honored by such a prestigious organization and by my peers so early in my career."
How Many Shoes She Owns
Tabitha in her Hermione glitter-finished flats. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"Not telling! I’m too embarrassed."
Favorite Shoes From Her Autumn/Winter Collection
(Clockwise) Shadow Boot, Bryon Boot and the Belfy Flat
On Her Spring Collection
Shoes from her Spring collection. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"It’s my ’70s flower child meets the film Picnic on Hanging Rock."
The Most Important Lesson She Has Learned
"Trust your instinct."
The Advice She Would Give Someone Wanting To Get Into Fashion
Karen Elson, Tabitha and Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington. Photo: Courtesy of Tabitha Simmons
"Go be an intern at a magazine and work hard. You have to pay your dues to gain experience. That’s what I did."
Photos: Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy and Proenza Schouler
"Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Proenza Schouler."
What She Wears To Feel Glamorous
Tabitha at the 2014 Met Gala. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"A beautiful dress from Dolce & Gabbana."
Her Go-To Piece
Photo: Chanel Haute Couture A/W 2015
"A Chanel jacket is never a bad go-to."
On The Best Part Of The Fashion Industry
Tabitha with photographer Patrick Demarchelier at a Vogue shoot. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"Getting to be creative and work with other creative types."
On The Collaboration She Did With TOMS
Tabitha on a giving trip in Honduras with TOMS. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"I met [TOMS founder] Blake Mycoskie at a Footwear News summit, and he suggested doing the collaboration. As a mother, I always have a child’s interest in mind, and I like what Blake and TOMS do by donating a pair of shoes to children for every pair purchased. [The collaboration] was a way to design shoes and do good at the same time."
On The Cause Dearest To Her
Main Beach in East Hampton. Photo: @tabithasimmons
"I’m an ambassador for a wonderful charity called Blue Marine Foundation whose mission is to protect the Earth’s oceans."
On How She Balances Work and Personal Life
Tabitha with her husband, photographer Craig McDean, at the 2013 CFDA Awards. Photo: BFA NYC
"I have a good team that helps me balance both worlds, and I always make it a point to spend time with my family."
Team Zoe's Faves From Tabitha Simmons
Harmony Suede Ankle Boots
Hermione Velvet Mary Jane Flats
Calista Mesh and Suede Lace-Up Sandals