Shoesday Tuesday Spotlight: Marion Parke
Jessie Ajluni | Tuesday March 28th 2017
When I first had the privilege of meeting Marion of namesake shoe line Marion Parke, I was at the debut of her very first collection. Upon receiving an invitation stating that a podiatrist was designing a luxury shoe label that was not only stylish but also comfortable, I must admit I was skeptical. Who would think that both functional and fashionable could actually exist in one shoe?
But, Marion is defying the odds with an unconventional career path just as much as with her shoes. Gorgeous stilettos, perfect platforms, and lovely lace-ups make up a truly innovative label that has a little bit of something for just about anyone. Each of which are designed to really be some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever tried on and with luxury retailers from Moda Operandi to Intermix just to name a few now picking her up it seems that right now is the perfect time to hear what she has to say.
When did you first decide to start your shoe line?
I formally established my business in 2014, though I had the idea long before that, while I was in school around 2005-2006.
What was it like transitioning from working in the medical field as a doctor to focusing on a creative project?
As the daughter of an artist, I’ve always had a creative mindset. I grew up in art classes and in my medical profession I channel my hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity into my surgical cases. Certainly, changing professions, no matter the fields, comes with challenges. For me, I actually feel like I’m utilizing my abilities to a greater extent and am sharing them with a greater number of people.
What are some of the difficulties you faced early in starting up your own business?
There were plenty! I think the biggest challenge is confronting the assumption of a luxury shoe having to be painful or that for a shoe to be comfortable it has to be extra wide and extra deep.
What were some of the challenges you had when first designing shoes that were both stylish and wearable?
I didn’t want to work with just any factory in Italy. I wanted to work with a factory that really knows beautiful shoes. I also needed to find a factory who would partner with me and believe in my concept. Thankfully, my production team has a tremendous amount of experience in the footwear industry and knew where to take me. I’m very proud to say that we produce in one of the best factories in Tuscany.
Take us through your design process. Where do you find your inspiration, source materials, etc…
I look at my closet and consider what is missing. I’m inspired by everything from music to art and architecture. My husband and I recently bought a home and because of that I’ve been inspired most recently by interiors. I love everything that Kelly Wearstler does. I have a phenomenal production team who can find absolutely anything when it comes to sourcing. We would not have achieved our success to date without them.
What do you think women should look for when investing in a luxury shoe?
Fit. You won’t wear it if it doesn’t fit.
What advice would you give to someone that is established in his or her career but looking to change industries?
The old cliche: Don’t quit your day job. I continued seeing patients for over a year after establishing my company. It wasn’t until after the first order was placed that I put my clinical practice on hold. However, I still maintain my license.
What are some of your favorite styles from your current collection?
I get asked this question a lot and it’s never an easy answer. We have several styles made in hand-distressed denim, which I love. Every single shoe is distressed to look like your favorite pair of jeans, so no two shoes are the same. A few styles have become our signatures like the ‘Bernadette’ and ‘Mitchell’ Mary Jane pumps, which will always be favorites.
Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your shoes in good condition?
Wearing the shoes that suit the occasion is an important one. Don’t wear stilettos to a garden party. And this may go without saying: check the weather before you leave home so that you’re not caught in the rain in suede.
If you had one tip on how to live a more stylish life what would it be?
Only wear your “athleisure” to the gym. If you’re feeling tired or lazy, then jeans and a concert tee are much more chic.
To see all of Marion’s gorgeous designs see our round up below.