"These are boots to get sh*t done in." That was the motto footwear designer Tamara Mellon and stylist Karla Welch settled on when it came time to launch their first limited-edition capsule. "We hope people get the message and we hope they use them to go to the polls or even to go to a protest if they want to," Mellon adds, talking to TZR on the phone from L.A.. The Tamara Mellon x Karla Welch collaboration continues both women's mission to use their platforms and expertise to promote issues that they believe in.
Mellon and Welch have collaborated before in a styling capacity, but this marks the first time the duo have taken it further and explored design. "[Welch] has great creative vision and she has an aesthetic which is very much her own so I wanted to do a collaboration around that," Mellon explains. They settled on three silhouettes — two boot styles and a platform oxford, all of which embody Welch's practical and sometimes glamorous aesthetic. "It’s what I wanted in my closet," Welch tells TZR via email. "The everyday flat, the great boot, and then the sort of sexy cool piece!" Mellon adds that practical workwear boots — anything inspired by Red Wings and Doc Martens — is a major trend this fall, and fit right in with the duo's desire for comfortable shoes that go beyond aesthetic.
In the midst of the pandemic and ahead of the approaching election, many fashion brands are getting involved in larger political and social issues. Whether it be by committing to internal change, donating money and proceeds, or by designing relevant merch. For Welch and Mellon — who have both used their social platforms to fight for positive change — there was a clear choice to tie the collaboration back to their larger beliefs. "It’s what we need to do. Period," Welch explains. On Sept. 22, National Voter Registration Day, Tamara Mellon is donating $10 I Am Voter for each person who texts TMxKW to 26797 to check their registration status and sign up to receive text updates about voting deadlines.
Having started in the fashion industry at such a young age, launching Jimmy Choo at 27 years old, Mellon's decision to launch her namesake line was invariably tied to creating a brand that focused on women's health and wealth in addition to the shoes themselves. "I had no idea the challenges I was going to face in business being a woman," Mellon says. "It was shocking to me some of the things that happened to me because of my sex ... I wanted to start a new brand that had a very different culture and way we treated women, and a voice that we actually used to speak up for women." Now, as consumers are increasingly tuned into the culture and ethos of brands they engage with, Mellon notes that design is crucial, but not enough. "The first thing you have to do is create great product that people want to buy. But, they are more aligned and more loyal to brands where they have shared values so people are looking for brands today to have a voice." Together, Mellon and Welch are making sure their voices — and designs — bring forth positive change.
Below, shop the newly released collection.
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