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Above: Kathryn Wilson’s current collection.



This month, New Zealand’s shoe Queen Kathryn Wilson celebrates ten successful years as one of our leading footwear designers. To celebrate this milestone Kathryn has curated an exhibition of her work including shoes, sketches, campaign photographs and stories from the past decade.

Kathryn’s 10 years in business has not been without its ups and downs. From her success at New Zealand Fashion Week creating the country’s first ever footwear show to moments that nearly toppled the brand, like the shipment of 800 pairs of shoes that arrived in a contaminated container and had to be destroyed and re-made in 10 days – this interactive exhibition leaves no stone unturned.

We recently caught up with Kathryn to talk, business, babies and everything in between.

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Above: Kathryn Wilson.



Did you set out to create one of the biggest footwear labels in New Zealand or has your success surprised you?
I was always focused on designing and creating innovative shoes that were different to what was already on the market.  I was 23 when I started and wanted to wear shoes that not everyone else was wearing. This has remained one of our brand values over the last 10 years by making limited edition footwear and what started out as a passion turned into a career.  I still feel like the luckiest girl that I get to work on something I love every day.

Your biggest break in terms of your business?
Exporting the Kathryn Wilson collection into Hong Kong department store i.t.  I was so excited to have our shoes sitting next to brands that I have coveted for years and seeing people wearing them in the metro/one the streets of Hong Kong!

Career highlight?
Meeting Jimmy Choo this year in Malaysia . . . he has always been an inspiration for Kathryn Wilson footwear being a boutique brand with a global vision.

Your all-time favourite shoe you’ve created?
Haha I have a new one every season . . . probably the Teresa heel for S’13, I am planning to wear it for my wedding shoe next year!

Favourite celebrity moment seeing someone famous wearing your shoes?
Kimbra on the MTV stage in New York . . . although I was pretty excited to send Beyonce shoes this month while she was visiting NZ.

How would you describe the last 10 years in business in three words?
Butterflies, tears and laughter.

How did you decide which shoes to include in the exhibition?
We are showcasing a selection of styles from each year.   I’m looking forward to seeing people recognise them from their wardrobes over the years!

What can we expect to see in the next 10 years from KW footwear?
We are really excited about fully celebrating our brand in the local New Zealand market through our own retail stores and online by perfecting our service and product offering each season. There are opportunities throughout Asia and USA for export growth which is super exciting too . . . lots to look forward to!

What about you personally – do you have any other dreams you’d like to achieve in the next 10 years?
I am getting married next year so would love to take more time to smell the flowers and perhaps start a family!!!

Secret to your success?
Have a laugh along the way and surround yourself with knowledge and experience.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Friends, family, travel, movies, music, history.

Favourite fashion labels?
Dries Van Noten, Margaret Howell, Isabel Marant, Zucca, Juliette Hogan, Hailwood.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I LOVE cleaning.   I find it therapeutic and relaxing!

Kathryn Wilson
Ten Year Retrospective
Saatchi Gallery
Saatchi & Saatchi
The Strand, Parnell
31 October – 5 December

Here are a few of our favourite looks from Kathryn’s current collection.