We tend to love all shoes (except maybe Crocs) but Kobi Levi's shoes hold a special place in our hearts. His designs are an innovative fusion of art and wearability, managing to somehow be funny and beautiful at the same time. Kobi is not only talented but so hard working and it was after Lady Gaga wore one of his creations that he finally got the attention he deserved! We're certain that soon, the name Kobi Levi, will be one of the biggest names in fashion. We had a chat to this emerging designer about his experiences and his plans for the future.
FM: When did you realise you had an interest in fashion?
Kobi: I started to create shoe designs while in high-school. I guess I always knew this is what I want to do.
FM: What drew you to shoes specifically?
Kobi: There is something magical about shoes that I like. They are like an extension of the body that can be designed to alter the posture and silhouette of the whole body. I find that exciting.
FM: How did you kick start your career?
Kobi: I studied design in college and also went to "old school" shoe makers to learn the technical aspects of the craft. This way I acquired the tools to create my designs by myself.
Straight from school I started to work in the footwear industry as a freelance designer. Meanwhile I created my own designs just for my own pleasure. In April 2010 I started a blog and uploaded the images of the designs. The initial idea was to share my passion with my friends and family and send them a link rather than heavy emails with images.
Very quickly the blog got a life of its own and people started to react to it and spread the word. I got emails from all over the world and realized that people enjoy the designs and appreciate them.
I think the highest moment of that time was when Lady Gaga chose my Double Boot for her "Born this Way" music video. Then it hit me that this can also become a business.
FM: What is an average work day like for you? Is being a designer anything like you thought it would be?
Kobi: I work hard and spend long hours in the studio. I hardly take any vacations and sometimes even forget to break for lunch.
This way of life is the most natural thing for me; because I get to be creative and do the thing I like the most. For me being a designer is not a "job", because the images and ideas flow in my mind wherever I go and I am always thinking about the next design and the next project.
FM: How long does it take to make each shoe, from the design process to the end product?
Kobi: When creating a new design, the whole process from the 1st sketch to the prototype can take a month.
Once the prototype is ready, duplicating it takes a few days, depends on the complexity of the design and structure.
FM: I love all the shoes but I can’t get over how amazing the ‘Slide’ shoes are! Is there one pair of shoes that you’ve designed that stands out as a favourite?
Kobi: I like all my designs, but style Miao stands out for me. I think it's a great example of catching the essence of a unique movement and translating it into a shape of a shoe.
FM: Any big plans for the future?
Kobi: My main focus right now is developing my brand and exposing it to as many people as possible.
FM: And plans to open a store in Australia?
Kobi: Sure! I get lots of emails from Aussies inquiring about the designs and asking where they can find them. It would be great to find a local partner who can collaborate with us on such a project.
FM: Any further comments?
Kobi: I am grateful for the attention and exposure. It's great to hear people like your creations and smile when they see them. Having fun with design is the most important thing for me.
And here are some more fantastic creations:
And these are my friend Seren's favourites:
And I know I said the Slide shoes were my favourite but now I am having doubts because they are all so amazing! We cannot wait for Kobi's next collection (hopefully there will be a meerkat- themed shoe *hint hint*).
Here is your next muse, Kobi. Work your magic.