Designer spotlight: Shoes
You won’t have to sacrifice style for comfort when pounding the pavement in these locally designed shoes.
Wed Apr 11 2012
Layla-joy Williams of Laylajoy Collection (laylajoy.com)
Who she is: Combine a lifelong shoe addiction with a case of wanderlust, and you have the impetus behind Williams’s eponymous women’s footwear line. After graduating from the Pratt Institute with a degree in industrial design in 1999, Williams took a job designing ladies’ shoes at Converse. Almost immediately, she was off on the first of many trips overseas to help develop collections. Since then, the Miami-bred 35-year-old has worked for footwear brands Nina and Nine West, learning the art of shoemaking in Italy, France and China in the process. “The job is fantastic if you love to travel, and I always wanted to see the world,” she notes. Williams partnered with local label BCNY, where she still works as the vice president of branded design, to launch Laylajoy Collection in October 2011. The company manages distribution, while she heads up the design. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur,” says Williams. “I knew I was going to work for myself—it was just a matter of making that happen.”
About the line: Comfort, affordability and style are the guiding principles behind Laylajoy Collection, which ships out of Hicksville, Long Island (Williams lives and works from home on the Upper West Side). All of the flats ($99–$125), boots ($140–$300), sandals ($79–$140) and heels ($120–$140) are handcrafted in China from soft, supple leathers and boast a sophisticated rocker vibe with chunky straps, cheetah prints and tons of aggressive studding. Williams’s spring line was inspired by the many cultures she’s encountered through her globe-trotting: Ballet flats echo the elegance of Parisian women, while sky-high, multistrap wedges wouldn’t look out of place in a London nightclub. Ladies with larger feet are also in luck—sizes run from 6 to 12. “It’s hard to find shoes that look as good in a 10 as they do in a sample size,” says Williams, who herself wears double digits.