Posted on January 24 2017
Shoesday Tuesday: Marskinryyppy By Jessie Ajluni
One of the best parts of my job working as a fashion editor in NYC is meeting with amazing brands and designers both big and small. I love hearing all the inspiring stories of people starting something from nothing and creating products that affect people’s day-to-day lives. So when Tamu and I first discussed the idea of a once a month spotlight on emerging shoe brands for our Shoesday Tuesday posts. I couldn’t think of anyone better for our inaugural feature than American designer turned Italian shoemaker Nicole Brundage the talent behind the up and coming line Marskinryyppy.
When did you first decide to start Marskinryyppy?
I launched Marskinryyppy in 2014, with its debut for SS15. That was when our topselling style–the Pauwau–made its first appearance. And when Barneys took notice of the brand.
Where did the name Marskinryyppy come from?
Marskinryyppy is a Finnish phrase meaning “The Marshal’s shot”. I love its “ce n’importe quoi”-ness, the playfulness of the double “y” and double “p”, and the anonymity it gives me as a designer.
Did you always want to do shoe design?
I dove into fashion right after I graduated from Stanford. I took a quick fashion course at Marangoni, then got a job with Armani. From there I took a clothing designer position with Zac Posen. My destiny for shoe-design manifested when Zac asked me to design the shoes for his runway, which Manolo would produce with his own label.
When I saw my designs sold in Barneys, I was elated. I looked up the number for Howard Davis, a Professor of footwear design at Parsons, and asked him to give me private lessons. I remember carving my own shoe patterns and molding the heel counter to the shoe with a hairdryer in my bathroom. There was a luggage repair nearby where I took my uppers to be sewn and a cobbler where I had the soles and heels attached. Once my 5 half-pairs were made, I packed my things and moved back to Italy to look for a factory. I was resolute.
What are some of the difficulties you faced early in your career?
The first few factories I visited tried to convince me the industry was too complicated. But I was a scrappy little fighter and had my mind made up. At the time though, the shoe business was much easier than it is now. All sectors of the fashion industry today have been going through the most startling overhaul as supply and accessibility is outgrowing demand. Technology is moving much faster and, as designers, our sensitivity and intuition has to be keener than ever now.
Did you find it hard moving to another country for work?
I was young and bold and didn’t think twice about it. Plus, Italy was not too shabby a proposition.
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration, source materials, etc…
My design process has many influences. One of which is our bestseller, the Pauwau, which I use as a jumping-off point each season and transform into new versions; changing the heel, sole, material, and adornments.
As for inspiration, I’ve always had a thing for the 1990s club–I was immersed in that glorious time when the club scene was at its best, when haute couture flourished and the overall aesthetic of fashion embodied a sexy, subversive, fetish look. I also have many ties to the art world through my family, and love delving into archival photos and old fashion magazines for inspiration.
What do you think women should look for when investing in a luxury shoe?
That’s such a relevant question now, as life is becoming so fast-paced and we have less time to browse and reflect and no longer buy out of need. I’d say a shoe worth investing in now is one that touches us on an emotional level.
If you could wear one style of shoe for the rest of your life what would it be?
That’s easy, the Pauwau. It goes with everything.
What is your favorite shoe from your current collection?
I personally love our new version of the pvc sandal which has “Catch the Moment, Not the Picture” written across the pvc straps in tiny bronze studs.
Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your shoes in good condition?
A shoe made of pvc can be the best investment as pvc can be wiped easily and look good as new each time it’s worn. My tip: buy a pvc sandal
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Take fashion less seriously and enjoy your innate sense of style. And read. Smart is stylish.