A few months ago, my mother, sister, and I were getting ready for an event at our hotel room. My niece was stumbling around barefoot, becoming comfortable with her own legs. I turn around and see my mom wearing my red suede lace-up stilettos with the four inch heels. My sister and I could not help but burst out laughing in tears as my mom modeled for us. Something about a woman her age wearing bright red pointed shoes of that height was shocking. As if on cue, my niece tumbles and my mom takes my shoes off her feet and rushes to her side. And just like that, she has retired her heels whereas my niece still has the world at her feet.
Do we have to choose comfort over aesthetics? That is the question that Evi Simjan is successfully tackling through her collection of women’s shoes.
For the first feature in what I hope to be a series, Women in Their Thirties, I interviewed Evi, who is trading a successful career in medicine for her life’s passion: fashion. She speaks candidly about many of the issues that have come up on this blog. I hope that she inspires you to think twice about how you are coping with aging and motivates you to pursue your passion as you read her interview:
AGirlinHer30s: Tell us little about your personal principles of design.
The brand is dedicated to making high fashion comfortable. It is based around number three like the holy trinity. The three elements of every design is classic, edgy, and sporty. Three years ago, I read an article in a sports magazine about how the baby boomer generation is getting older, but they don’t want to stop wearing heels. I realized that designers weren’t targeting them. In our early 20’s it’s more about what’s hot. Now, we want to look hot but ask ourselves “can I wear these shoes?” So three years ago the concept started. I started sketching and conducted 2 ½ years of research. I have friends who are in the athletic shoe industry, so I picked their brain about it how to implement comfort in a women’s shoe. I worked with designers in Italy to widen base of shoe, because narrow shoes pinch the toes. We have also lowered the pitch of the shoe to obtain a 4” look in a 3” heel. This is the result of a lot of research, time, and energy.
AGirlinHer30s: Describe yourself in three hashtags:
#fortheloveofshoes #allblackeverything #breatheandbelieve
AGirlinHer30s: I noticed each design is named after a woman. How do you choose the names?
In this first collection, three of the shoes are named after my three best friends. They have been a huge support throughout process. Every time I found myself asking “Who am I?? Why am I doing this?” They would motivate me to stay on task. So I names the shoes after them as a tribute to them to say thank you for being in my corner.
AGirlinHer30s: Why did you choose to come present your collection in Miami?
I used to spend time in Miami and I always wanted to live in Miami. I don’t know why, if it’s the weather, the culture, all of it; it always felt comfortable. I lived in Miami for some time and freelanced so it is kind of a second home for me.
AGirlinHer30s: One of the themes that comes up a lot on my blog is this issue of self-doubt. Do you ever doubt yourself?
Absolutely, even now. When I launched the brand, I had a pop-up in Detroit. Watching people buy and try on shoes, it’s surreal. In the process of preparing for it, I asked myself “Are people going to buy the shoes?” or ask themselves, “Why would I spend money on this?” There is always a fear, I don’t know if it’s a doubt. But that fear is overpowered by desire to succeed and to prove it to myself. This is what I always wanted. I was very successful and comfortable in my career, but a couple of years ago I decided this is not my passion. I am going to try. The worst thing I can do is fail, but I will regret never trying.
The truth is, try as we might to postpone it, we are all headed down this painful uncomfortable path that is aging. At the beginning, it is subtle. Already, I am starting to wear flats more often than ever. We know we can neither reverse nor detain aging, but can we defy it?