Agota Valaityte-Bruni was born in Lithuania and is the daughter and granddaughter of artists. Settled now in London, she’s showing herself to be one of the most promising footwear designers around. She studied in Vilnius and London and defines herself as “an artist, who is practicing fashion”, leaving the door open to working in other fields.
Agota’s shoes are sophisticated, luxurious and come in a wide range of styles and materials. Her latest collection, “The Preservers”, is inspired by the middle ages and the shoes are similar to armor which, as she puts it, can turn any woman into a modern-day Joan of Arc, fighting for her dreams, and becoming her own personal icon.
At So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, we sat down with her recently and this is what she had to say.
SO CATCHY!: When did you realise you wanted to be a fashion designer? Do you remember a specific moment in your life?
AGOTA VALAITYTE-BRUNI: I never actually wanted to be one. I was just following my creative intuition. For me, fashion has always been one of the ways to embody creative expression through wearable objects. I have tried myself in many fields such as painting, drawing, spacial installations and sculpture. And I do have many ideas related to art that hopefully as well will find their expression sometime soon. I would call myself ‘an artist, who is practicing fashion’. However, I remember myself finding the childhood drawings of quite intricate shoes. This is probably the reason I did the degree in Cordwainers Footwear Design.
SC!: Tell us about the techniques and materials you normally use.
AV: I love contrasting the textures. In the past I was using different suedes, fabrics, bio-resin, veg-tan leather, fur, stainless steel, acrylics etc. I am also intrigued by casting/model making techniques for the heels and other embellishments.
SC!: We have been witnessing the growth of 3D printers and different possibilities for shoes. Do you think this will be the future of footwear?
AV: 3D printing technology is a great tool and I think it is good for production of some footwear elements.
However, I hope that the footwear craft will not die. 3D printing might be very useful for quick catwalk footwear replication. Personally, I don’t admire entirely 3D-printed fashion objects. They look a bit too artificial, soulless maybe.
SC!: What influences you most?
AV: It’s hard to define. It can be ranging from something conceptual such as dreams, feelings or memories to something real such as a shell, a rock, architecture etc. A lot of my inspiration comes from my family and various structures of nature.
SC!: What is the perfect shoe for you?
AV: A balance between comfort and elegance.
SC!: The kind of shoes you normally wear are…
AV: It depends from my mood. I really love leather boots and sneakers.
SC!: Do you plan to create your own label anytime soon?
AV: Everything has its prefect time. Hopefully, it will come together eventually.
SC!: What are you doing right now?
AV: Looking for employment as well as working on my own creative vision.
SC!: Would you like to work for an important label? Any in particular?
AV: I am open for opportunities. I don’t have any specific label in mind. However, it could be any label that is specifically focused on craft and a range of materials/constructions…
SC!: Your favourite fashion designers / labels are…
AV: I try to recognise many designers for different reasons. Some of them are interesting in how they construct, some of them in their approach to life, some of them in their use of colour or elements etc. Some of my favourites are: Iris Van Herpen, Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann, Marios Schwab, Peachoo + Krejberg, Givenchy, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, …
SC!: A novel footwear designers you admire…
SC!: Your favourite footwear designers / labels are…
SC!: What blogs or websites do you read normally about design and fashion?
AV: Mostly the street style blogs, such as hel-looks.com, thesartorialist.com, le21eme.com. I love to observe the individualistic style solutions all over the world. I also regularly check Wgsn.com, Vogue.com, Harper’s Bazaar…
SC!: You can´t stop wearing…
AV: At the present moment I cant stop wearing Kenzo Amour Eau De Parfum.
SC!: You can´t live without…
AV: My personal creative space.
All images courtesy of Agota Valaityte-Bruni
Translated and Layout by Michael Padilla