Who: Catherine Cole learned to sew at age 7. Growing up in a small town in Minnesota, she didn’t have a lot of shopping options. So she’d make her own renditions of clothes she’d spotted in Seventeen magazine. After graduating from college with a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Design, she headed to Los Angeles with big aspirations and $200 to her name. Her dream of designing for herself started a few years later, in 1990. Her creations were a hit, gaining her a client list including Nordstrom and many smaller boutiques; after NAFTA she made the decision to sell retail online only.
What: Boho-chic lace socks, leg warmers, “barefoot sandals” and other accessories. Socks and leg warmers have a focus on lace; the sought-after barefoot sandals incorporate metals and jewels. Prices range from about $15 to $30.
How: Articles, photos, customer requests and gaps in offerings are what inspire Cole. For example, when she couldn’t find an adequate pair of jeweled shoes for her daughter’s prom outfit, she designed the Crystal Shoe Jewels, which have become her most popular design for destination beach weddings. Today’s trendy tall boots inspired her Tall Boot Socks. On the forefront: adding boots to their product line. “Everyday customers want to purchase my modeling boots,” Cole says.
Advice to aspiring designers: “Design what you love and believe in. Always keep evolving with the trends and technology. Never give up, and always keep your ego and overhead low.”
Current favorite piece: “My favorite fall piece is my LW6 Scandinavian leg warmers. They have a wonderful Nordic snowflake knit pattern, lace trimming and a real wood button accent. It looks great with tall boots or shooties. Super cozy knit keeps your legs warm. The perfect leg warmer for winter.”