Established in 2012, Finery is a new Australian footwear label we L-O-V-E! Featuring ultra-beautiful leathers, artisanal workmanship, unique designs and great prices, Finery is a brand we can’t take our eyes off.
We caught up with founder and designer, Melissa Butera:
Could you give us a little rundown on how Finery was born?
I think deep down I have always wanted to work for myself. I’ve been very lucky to have had amazing jobs from a very young age. However, I always felt I was being held back in these companies from achieving everything I wanted to and working with people and staff they way I love. My desire to own my own business has been as much about wanting to create an inspiring environment for people as well as creating a label of my aesthetic. Over the last few years the Australian footwear industry really ceased to inspire me and I felt like the industry was falling behind – that’s what prompted me to take the leap to go for what I had always dreamt of.
What is the style mantra behind the brand?
“To enjoy a lifestyle that is every bit as luxurious as it is Bohemian”
Who is the Finery woman?
She is modern, aspirational, a free thinker, independent and creative. She is the same woman who once spent weekends clubbing and out to pubs & music festivals, and now enjoys going to events, concerts, dinners and enjoys weekends away with family and friends. She has friends from all walks of life, she may be single or with a family, and although she may be a little more grown up she still has that rock n roll feel to her and a sense of her own style.
Who and/or what are your current major inspirations?
This does change sometimes season to season, however I do love the eclectic style of the Olsen twins and how they can pull off a variety of looks. Travel really inspires me the most – I get so much out of seeing the world – colours, artisan craftsmanship and meeting all kinds of people, who end up really forming my biggest inspiration. I love the style I see in the streets of Paris & NYC and the confidence in which women there wear their clothes. Yet I love the relaxed and down to earth attitude of Australians – I try to combine a balance of the both.
Describe your design process.
It usually starts with travel, or a weekend away – I really need to get into a head state that is relaxed so the creative ideas can flow (which is difficult when you’re caught up in spreadsheets and business things!)
I generally already know my starting point, there will be ideas I’ve kept in the back of my mind ready for this process, so I research while I’m away – people watching, books, movies, music etc. From here I come together with mood board of leathers, pictures, colours. I also start to get nut out the key shapes I want for the season.
Then the work with my tanneries and suppliers starts to happen: developing leathers, heels, lasts and patterns. It is all a very long process from start to finish and there are a lot of different suppliers involved with making footwear (which most people don’t realize!)
Key piece from the current collection?
My key favourite is the Positano Heel.
Any hints as to what we may see next season?
Yes, a feminine take on classic bohemian / Rock ‘n roll styling. Fringe, points, and metal work.
Where do you see your label (in a broad sense) going in 2015 and beyond?
I couldn’t be happier with how it has started out and the support received. I hope that we continue to reach more consumers in Australia & NZ and develop really strong relationships with our retailers. International sales into the US could come earlier than planned so that may also be part of 2015. My ultimate goal though, is to develop a brand that has a strong enough following that enables us to have a voice to start supporting causes we strongly believe in. I think it’s important that if we are given the chance to do so – we help those less fortunate who can’t.
What is your ultimate dream for Finery?
Continuing to develop collections of shoes (and other products) consumers love.
An amazing team of people who love their job and workplace
1 or 2 concept stores where people can really engage with our brand, product and philosophies.
The ability to use Finery to act as our voice to inspire others and make a positive difference to things we can.
Who do you most admire in fashion today?
I admire people like Sass & Bide & Gorman – this industry is really hard and the pressure is high! For Sass & Bide, staying together as a team is a huge achievement on its own. Achieving everything they have whilst raising families and enduring personal battles shows a lot of strength. Lisa Gorman has been able to really create her own aesthetic and brand (whilst being a mother) which I really respect also. I think most people don’t understand that fashion is more about gruelling schedules then it is glamorous. My biggest admiration go to those women who have done it so successfully while also playing the most important job of being a mum. What I find the most inspiring is women who show others that you can have it all via a lot of hard work and determination.
Did you always plan on being a shoe designer?
No, not at all. It all happened by chance!
How do you feel about the shift toward “fast fashion”?
I think everything has its place. It’s not realistic to expect people to only buy designer! I personally live in basic black and white t-shirts from Cotton On and they could be teamed with my Helmut Lang Black Pants… and I’m an addict for Zara. The onus is on retailers / manufacturers to ensure everything is being manufactured ethically – I don’t think it’s ever O.K to substitute making more margin for manufacturing unethically. However, my pet hate is synthetic leather – This was a motivation behind starting Finery also – to bring products using quality materials and craftsmanship at accessible prices.
What is your first fashion memory?
I remember begging for Reebok Pumps, Doc Marten 8 ups (the first time), and having a hideous taffeta dress specifically made by dressmaker in the 80’s, which I thought I looked amazing in!
Are there any trends in fashion at the moment that you don’t like?
The Big chunky soled shoes you see everywhere – i am yet to see these look flattering on someone.
Your style icons?
Olsen Twins , Alexa Chung , Brigitte Bardot, Jackeline Bisset , Of course – Kate Moss!
Items on high rotation in your closet right now?
Helmut Lang Black Pants (highly recommended worth every cent)
Black & White Tee’s
FINERY Bloom Ankle boots in Olive
You can check out the range right here