Atalanta Weller Puts a Right Step Forward

From her high-octane custom pieces, Weller has finally given us ready to wear access to her very specific shoe vision

Text by Todd Watkins

Atalanta Weller has the shown she has balls whether that be emotionally or on the foot (see image). After working solidly for the past decade in the industry and clocking up a number a collaborative projects with the likes of Gareth Pugh and Henry Holland, we see her arrive at a second stint with New Gen after embarking on her first solo collection. Here she tells us what it truly means to be an obsessive and what her hopes for the future are.

How did you end up being a shoe designer?
I was studying sculpture art foundation at Cheltenham college for one of my projects and I went into the studio with numerous pairs of shoes to make a sculpture. All of them were the wrong sizes and mismatched but I saw them all as one insanely. Someone in the class mentioned that I should study shoe design, which at the time it didn’t even occur to me that that was an option. My tutor told me about Cordwainers I researched it and the rest is history.

Where did you train?
I studied a degree at Cordwainers in footwear and accessories, specialising in footwear. Whilst studying I decided to tour factories in Italy as I had ever seen a shoe factory, which I thought was ridiculous being so absorbed in the industry. Whilst on the trip I knew as part of my course I had to source a work placement with a relevant company. On visiting Bruno Magli in Bologna, I was blown away by their product and style and knew this was the place for me. After writing, calling and almost begging them, I got a placement for a couple of months! They taught me the importance of having a commercial point of view and how to work as part of a professional team. They also gave me the opportunity to work on my own project where I designed a pair of shoes that went into production and hit the shops for four consecutive seasons it was AMAZING! That was ten years ago and I have since worked for a number of large companies where I honed my skills, then on a number of consultant jobs and collaborations which have all been key to further training prior to launching my first solo season. Without this additional time I wouldn't have been able to launch my own label I think its extremely difficult to debut directly out of college.

How would you describe your style?
Ooh that’s tough…I would describe it as “futuristic functional sculptural“.

What inspires you?
I love looking at things that are clever, technology and architecture are my first reference points. I love combining this with feelings, landscape, art and people. At the moment I’m in love with Pier Luigi Nervi , an architect who was working in the fifties. I love his bold use of concrete and improbable lines, they make the impossible seem possible which is something I love to incorporate into my collections.
Which designers work do you admire if any?
Atalanta Weller: I used to love Margiela's point of view before he retired. I now particular like Jil Sander, Raf simmons and Prada.

Who’s your style icon / Muse?
At the moment I’m loving Shakespeare Sister.

What has been your ultimate fashion moment to date?
Winning New Gen was amazing I put it up there with seeing my shoes for the first time in Bruno Magli. I was in Selfridges and remember being dumb struck on seeing them. I was in my hip hop faze baggy chords and a bandana and I remember saying to the the ultra lady shop assistant “Those are my shoes, I designed them” to which she just smiled at me as if I was mental and said “Oh right”
You’re a New Gen winner for the second time what does this mean to you?
Winning the award the first time opened so many doors for me. I felt so honoured to get recognition from people I really admire in the industry. To have them believe in what I was doing for the first time was awesome, so to win it for a second time was mind blowing!
What are your long term aspirations?
Atalanta Weller: I want to be successful with the business hopefully build it up enough to have my own stores. Carry on pushing boundaries doing sculptural pieces which are close to my heart. Maybe one day I'll design product other than shoes too.

© by DazedDigital

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