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Carolyn Hill

Meet the Artist Behind the Shoes

An Exclusive Interview with Wolverine Footwear Designer, Carrie Hill

At the Wolverine Fashion Night Out event, I was introduced to the lovely designer, Carrie Hill. A Detroit native, and mother of two who has been the visionary for Wolverine's men and women's heritage line for the past eight years. Her adorable style and fearless personality help make a bold statement in everything she does.
I was so intrigued by her spunky personality and beautiful footwear designs that I reached out to Carrie following this event to learn more about the gal behind the shoes.
And the interview begins:

1. How would you describe your personal style?

Clean and straight forward, but when I'm in the mood to get dressed up, I like to make a statement.  I've never been one to layer.  I feel like the more stuff I have on to "adjust" the more distracted I am.  I like to be comfortable and if I'm not, it shows.

2. What is your go-to shoe?

I have a billion and one comfortable, good-quality, beautiful shoes.  Of course, my beat-up cheapy purple Vans with paint spills on them are always at close reach.

3. What does the brand Wolverine mean to you?

Wolverine has a very rich history, not only in footwear but in the development of West Michigan's economy.  Of course, the premium quality of Wolverine is most attractive, but the layers of stories and past is also just as admirable.

4. How would you describe Wolverine the brand in one word?

Honest.

5. Where do you see Wolverine, the brand, going in the next 5 years?

What everyone thought Wolverine would never be…a high-end fashion brand. I think Wolverine is just starting to get fun.  There will always be a classic layer, but I'm anxious to watch this brand evolve into other areas of the fashion world.  Stay tuned …

6. How do you differentiate your design style?

Pardon my french, but "Ah, **** it" seems about accurate.  It can either mean "I give up" or "Just go for it!"…I like the latter definition. My hope is to always incorporate something into my designs to keep people curious.  I've been drawing classic footwear for nearly 8yrs, but when you've been briefed to create yet another men's wingtip, there needs to be something there to spark someone's curiosity.  I like giving people something they didn't know they wanted.

7. What does an average work day look like for you?

Working with overseas factories, there is never a dull moment in early morning emails.  I usually spend some time chatting with my coworkers about the latest factory issues, then start getting into my "mode" as soon as possible, whether that be drawing & specing shoes, selecting leathers or building trend & color boards.  If it's a non-meeting day, I try to squeeze in a run or bike ride during lunch.  If I'm having a hard time sitting, I've been known to completely clean out my office and the Center of the Universe (room where the Product Development group meets).

8. Is there a certain color palette or feature that you are drawn to?

I tend to always be drawn to rich, deep colors such as Deep Navy Blue and Burgundy Wine.  Or maybe that's just because we're in fall right now and I can't wait to start wearing some fall colors.  I've never been a fan of pastels, with the exception of nude pink.  Pastels seem wimpy to me.

9. How do you consume the latest fashion trends?

From a world wide web perspective, WGSN/StyleSight are great trend sites.  I have about 4 footwear/apparel bloggers that I follow religiously.  After that, I go into blogger overload and I can't flood my head with many more opinions.  No disrespect!  I have a ton of bloggers that I bookmark, but only a handful are referenced all year long and tend to be bookmarked for something specific.  Outside of the internet, observing the world is the best trend exercise I go through.  I like to plant myself on a city bench and just watch people walk by…observe what they're wearing and how they're wearing it.  The "how" is most intriguing to me because anyone can put on a pair of boots, it's how you style yourself around those boots.  Roll jeans up, roll jeans down?  Styling is often such an unconscious effort, so it's always fascinating to hear how other people interpret other's style. Other forms of trend media: Surface magazine http://www.surfacemag.com & HUH. magazine http://www.huhmagazine.co.uk

10. What brands do you look up to?

Too many to list!  Alexander McQueen and Madeleine Vionnet are at the top of my list.

When Carrie is not designing bad *** shoes in the studio, you can find this gal running, swimming, bicycling around the city, rocking out to live music, or spending quality time with her gorgeous husband and two little ones.

To see Carrie's designs and other brilliant shoes, click here!

Thanks so much to Carrie for this amazing interview!

Written by Kaitlyn Taylor for www.artisanhappiness.com

 

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