Aruna Seth is an inimitable force in the luxury shoe market.
Her designs have adorned the feet of new royalty, most famously Pippa Middleton, who wore one of Aruna’s designs at the Royal Wedding; Kate Hudson and Julia Roberts to name a few.
But it is her background, rich in design and paired with an unmatchable work ethic that has driven her to create a brand rolling off the tongues of Hollywood’s elite.
My Fashion Life caught up with Aruna to talk about the perfect shoe, favourite holiday destinations and what it takes to make it in the industry.
What makes the perfect shoe?
The perfect shoe is one you can fall in love with. I’m a shoe lover so I very much appreciate fine design. For example, the Swarovski signature bow adorning my designs has crystals inside the bow, and I am the first designer to do this and pay such attention to detail. My designs feature a lovely curve on the side to help elongate the leg. The perfect shoe is something to treasure, comfortable and something to love.
How did you get started in this business?
My father has been making shoes for over 40 years and he is my biggest inspiration He has worked extremely hard over four decades to build up a successful shoe empire, so creating beautiful shoes is in my blood. My father encouraged me to work within his company from a young age, and I spent a lot of time travelling with him to all his factories around the world. I remember working in the office over the summer holidays, helping out at the warehouse, in the factory and with shoe orders. My father has a tremendous work ethic – he has built up a multi-million pound shoe empire in Russia, India, Europe and the UK, and I’ve grown up watching him work long hours and put huge dedication into building his business.
What is your favourite city for fashion inspiration, and why?
Delhi is great for fabrics, inspiration and colour. India has a strong influence on my designs; the colours and crystals are so vivid in this country, you can’t help but think about them when you design, I’ve created a few striking red and gold shoes by being influenced from visits to India. The love of sparkle, vivid colour and embellishments all contributes to my shoe designs.
What is your favourite holiday destination, and why?
I go to the Bahamas every Christmas, and it’s great for networking. I met the owner of Aldo shoes out there and he has given me invaluable business advice. It is also a great place to meet potential clients for my designs, too.
If you had to choose between veteran shoe designers Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo, who would you pick and why?
I would go with Manolo Blahnik as I love his inspiring designs and the images that he draws with each design. His shoes are colourful, take great form and I love the magic he has created behind the brand.
Every A-lister from Kate Hudson to Nelly Furtado and Julia Roberts has worn your designs. Are there any other celebrities out there you’d love to see in your shoes?
It would be an honour to see Kate Middleton wearing one of my designs. Kate has an elegant sense of style, but she looks amazing in a bit of sparkle too. She looked stunning in the Jenny Packham evening gown she wore to the 10th anniversary of the Absolute Return For Kids charity at Kensington Palace, last June.
Heels or Flats?
I am a heels lady, as I love looking glamorous, and I’m often not seen in anything shorter than 6 inch heels. Honestly! But I am partial to a pair of stylish flats for easy airport style and walking around London in.
Tell us about your first fashion memory
My first fashion memory is playing with my mother’s shoes. She had a beautiful pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes with butterflies on. Seeing these pretty shoes might have inspired me to come up with my infamous butterfly design, which has gone onto become a best-seller.
And finally, what advice would you give to emerging shoe designers trying to break into the industry?
Passion, perseverance, openness and good customer service are key ingredients to succeed in this industry. Being passionate about your brand and product is highly important; I get excited whenever I design a new shoe and see the first samples, and I hope my enthusiasm comes across in my designs. You have to persevere and wish to be in the fashion industry for the long-term, keep chipping away at building relationships with buyers, clients and marketing the brand. Being easily accessible and open to ideas is vital. Equally important are the clientele, whom we love to provide with a very exclusive buying experience at top London Hotels like The Cadogan in Knightsbridge, or at our Surrey showroom. It’s all about building strong, friendly relationships with loyal clients who enjoy what you create.