Having grown up in the industry, Aruna Seth always had a passion for shoes. Despite initially pursuing a career in finance, she soon returned to her first love of design, and after completing a course at London College of Fashion, she launched her eponymous brand. Aruna has since built up an international brand loved by the likes of Kate Hudson.
We caught up with Aruna to discuss her love of sparkle, her love of travel and the Aruna Seth woman.
1. Have you always wanted to be a shoe designer?
I come from a shoe family; my father is a shoe tycoon who gave me a taste for dressing feet up from a young age. My father has been in the shoe industry for over 50 years and I’ve been surrounded by the industry. I was brought up around shoe drawings, shoe designers and travelled the world along with my father to factories. He went to review his shoe collections in production. I of course have always had a passion for women’s shoes though and especially designer ones. I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
2. How did you pursue this career in terms of education and experience?
I studied Business at university and then entered a career in investment banking. But the fantasy of designing a shoe collection stayed with me throughout. I decided to train in footwear design at the London College of Fashion to follow my dream of designing shoes fit for a Princess. I have been fortunate to travel the world a great deal with my father so I already had built up plenty of ideas for the Collection. I visited Italy to secure the best artisans and factory to create the line. I attended Paris Fashion Week and trade shows to source the best materials to embellish the shoes with. I wanted the best materials only for this collection. The satin is thick in cut and the grosgrain ribbon is sourced from the highest-grade factory in Brazil.
3. What influences and inspirations inform your designs and your style?
The brand DNA of Aruna Seth is to be elegant and glamorous. Aruna Seth shoes have a sophisticated identity and appeal to ladies who ooze confidence and femininity. The brand is for clients who want to feel chic and on trend but who doesn’t follow fashion religiously. I take in constant inspiration from the high-fashion catwalk shows to my clients needs. But travel is one of the main things to inspire me. I travel a couple of times a month everywhere from Hong Kong, Dubai, New York and India. Each country I visit is inspirational for colours, fabrics, materials, the variety of fashion trends and discovering new embellishments.
4. Does your own personal style come into play during the design process?
I think any designer does do styles that are to their liking but you have to listen to your clients needs too. I am a massive fan of sparkle, embellishments and the more sparkle the better. But I know I have clients who love the shape of my shoes and love plainer colours for example. We do have tons of fun in the office testing the shoes though and making sure the fit it right. If you notice each of my shoes has signature traits like the curve elongated along the side of the shoe, a crystal butterfly stamped on the bottom and if you see one of our shoes you’ll instantly recognise it as an Aruna Seth style.
5. Describe a typical working day for yourself?
Absolutely no two days are the same at Aruna Seth HQ. I love to keep busy and I rarely relax ever, I am always on the go. Over October I visited New York, Texas and Canada for a press tour as Aruna Seth shoes are being stocked in Neiman Marcus a major US department store. I came back for a week to deal with all the wholesale enquiries, oversee the new design of the look-book for the new Universe collection and recruit someone new to oversee all of our social media. I am now flying to Hong Kong to do a showcase at the Upper House Hotel and meet some of our clients in Asia.
6. What advice would you give to any aspiring designers?
This is the main piece of advice I’d give anyone. Stay true to your brand no matter how much people try to dissuade you otherwise. We’ve launched tons of different styles but we’ve always stayed close to our brand objectives to create iconic shoes. Our colours and styles may have changed but our shoes will always have the look of an Aruna Seth shoe.
7. What have been some of the ‘pinch me’ moments of your career?
I absolutely adore Kate Hudson and Kate has worn our shoes several times over the years. She’s been spotted in them on the Red carpets at her premiere of Nine in Annabel’s and she looked amazing last year in our dog-tooth Venus shoe. Aruna Seth shoes were created for the red carpet and to have one of my favourite celebrities wearing them is an honour.
And finally, what plans or aspirations do you have for the future?
I’d love to carry on growing and conquering the world and become even bigger. The brand has achieved so much as we’re stocked in Harrods, Luisa Via Roma Italy, Level Shoe District Dubai, Neiman Marcus, Kleinfeld New York and 51 East Qatar. I’d love for the Aruna Seth brand to be established for generations exactly like Chanel.