Are you looking to invest in luxurious sandals, or are you already on the hunt for the perfect Fall leather shoe? Focus on HAVVA, the new shoe brand to know. Inspired by her family’s rich shoe-making heritage, Havva Mustafa honed her crafting and design skills at London College of Fashion before creating her own luxury shoe brand. BOE’s Tatiana Kombo interviewed the designer to gain insight into Havva’s world of opulent shoe-making.
Havva is a family-owned company. How does this make your brand stand out?
We work as a tightly knit team that always puts the product first. Everyone is involved in helping to create every style, taking our vision from concept to realisation.
Do you have a favourite inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?
‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ – Napoleon Hill
What makes Havva designs unique?
An understated, well-thought out design, emanating through cleanly formed shapes and lines, showing off unique silhouettes in its purest form. We don’t use too much colour as we try to keep the focus on the shape, too much colour can over complicate and mask the design. We like to express through materiality, texture and composition. With footwear you have to be more conscious of the fact that you are designing within certain boundaries.
How does living in London inspire you?
London is full of life and energy, you never know what will be around the corner for inspiration. Art, architecture and people.
In three words, how would you describe your brand?
Refined. Cohesive. Stimulating.
Where do you see Havva in 5 years?
To be able to keep expressing ideas through the beauty of footwear.
Tell us about how you produce your designs. What is your favourite part of the process?
All designs are started in-house. So, once I have a blend of concepts and an idea of the direction I want to take for the season, together with the team, we break down the concepts along with colour, materials, textures and so forth. Then begin to design into my seasonal sketchbook, while looking back at past concepts and trying to take sections that I feel may work now. To me this is easily the most exciting part, as you are able to let your design intuition run wild. Then we pick out what we feel works best and create prototypes by hand to see how the design will look on a 3D form. From here it’s a constant back and forth process ’till the design is refined to its final product.
Where do you seek inspiration for your designs?
Architecture is a big influence for me, as there is so much depth and ongoing detail within a building. There is such a variety of shapes and forms that you don’t really see anywhere else. It seems quite fitting as there is a lot of detail and intricacy, whether it be from modern or 1950’s architecture. Also, looking at art and past fashions.
In your opinion, what makes a shoe stand out?
Trying to find that perfect ratio of aesthetic to function. The right balance between colour, texture and fine details.
You are a Professor at Central Saint Martins’ in London- what is the main skill you aim to teach students?
A realistic approach to shoe design, that it takes hard work and dedication, and continuing to learn every aspect of the footwear trade. If you can learn about the design process for shoe making, then do so- as sketching can only get you so far. By doing so, the process of bringing a sketch to reality is much easier as they will understand the steps required.
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes?
AW14/15: Masculinity vs Femininity with Madison and Gordon.
A/W is a balancing act between feminine and masculine identities. The GORDON shoe, (pictured above), is a timeless investment designed with traditional elements in a modern combination. The fringe sits snugly beneath the ghillie style lacing.