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“I want to make shoes that are beautifully designed and finely made, but without an over the top price tag”

If your feet are on the larger side, then you’ll know a thing or two about the difficulty in not only finding your shoe size (especially in the sales) let alone actually finding cute shoes which don’t look gigantic. Well lawyer turned footwear designer Angeline Tournier can relate and as a result of her frustrations set up Angeline Tournier London, specialising in designing and manufacturing footwear ranging from sizes EU36 right up to EU44 and which look great on big feet as well as small. Paris department store, Le Bon Marche exclusively bought Angeline’s debut collection and she’s just recently released her spring/summer 2006 collection….

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Four things 1) Working for myself, 2) fulfilling a lifelong dream to create shoes available in larger sizes, 3) being creative, 4) no longer being stuck in an over-air-conditioned office, wearing “formal” clothes and spending my time analysing and sorting out other people’s legal problems, and doing a job with little creative outlet.

And like the least?

Working for myself means I never get “time off”, I tend to work longer hours than before and I can not “get away” from work, even on week-ends and holidays.

Can you tell us a bit about the design process involved in shoe design?

The design process takes place over a number of months. I kind of visualise shoes or boots I’d like to wear myself, I sketch my initial ideas, sometimes I get inspiration from a trim off an item of clothing, a type of leather I see at a leather trade show or other totally unrelated topic. A few weeks before I need to submit my drawings to the factory, I make more formal technical drawings, normally quite a few, then I select my favourite ones and send them to the factory so that they can make samples.

What was the inspiration behind the cartoon wedges?

I loved reading Betty & Veronica cartoons with my sisters when I grew up in the US. Sometimes we identified with nice Betty, sometimes with selfish Veronica. It’s a very American cartoon with slightly cheesy retro dialogue. I started off gluing the actual cartoon pages onto wedges with floor varnish. Then I tried different styles of designs for the upper part of the shoe. I wanted to create a summer sandal which was fun and which made me smile, and which stood out.

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