We chat to Amy Castle, designer of Cali and Cale Footwear about the brand, life and inspirations. Make sure to check out the e-store here.
Tell us a little about the brand and how the name came about?
It was really important to create an original name for the label that reflected what we are about. Creating a collection is about people, skills and ideas coming together. A big influence for me and the brand is contrasts. These can be found everywhere and often produce the most interesting design.
Cali and Cale came from a little name book my parents had; Cali from Greek meaning ‘beautiful’ and Cale from English meaning ‘bold’. The two names are similar but different, masculine and feminine – a contrast that creates balance.
What has drawn you to accessories, in particular footwear?
I really enjoy drawing, making and sewing. Art was my favourite subject at school so when I finished I went on to study a Foundation degree in Art and Design. My next step was to focus on fashion, though I didn’t feel apparel was the right move. I really enjoy the more sculptural aspect of accessories and love the craft and the tradition of leather work. I went on to study a degree in Footwear at Cordwainers College in East London which is part of the London College of Fashion. The East End was a vibrant and creative place to live and study; at the college I spent years learning every part of the shoe making process.
Could you fill us in a little on the design process behind designing footwear?
Designing is about getting creative and inspired. For me this is about seeing everything around you: news, exhibitions, films, gigs, festivals, markets…
I collect things as I go and collate my ideas on paper when I start sketching. All these inspirational things mix with the technical part of the brain and product design evolves from there. After that initial idea there is a reasonable amount of development, tweaking and testing before you get a final product.
What do you look for when sourcing leather and materials for your pieces?
Cali and Cale products are made from leather and in footwear it is really important to use the right leather. A soft buttery leather that would be great for gloves is not good for a shoe so the leather must be right for the design and function of the product.
Colour is key for Cali and Cale collections, so I have the leather made to the Pantone reference we are using for the season.
How would you describe the Cali and Cale aesthetic?
Pure understated style – simple contemporary design combined with artisan techniques that captures the truly Australian spirit of laid-back luxury.
What are the key pieces to shop for in the current collection?
I have been wearing all of our sandals to really get to know them. In the collection itself there is a contrast of styles; the beautiful bright colours and bold monochrome on the Carla and Shelly; to the Artisan woven styles in contemporary shapes such as the Paddington and Cross. My favourite (this week) is the Shelly; this flatform is simple, contemporary, comfortable and goes with just about anything!
Who or what inspires you creatively?
I am always inspired by contrasts, they often make for the most exciting design. I’m quite a curious person and will collect things and images – it could be a photo, the colour of someones jumper or even a piece of rope!
Finally, if you could have breakfast with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Florence Walsh from Florence + The Machine. I saw her perform recently at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Vivid Live festival and it was truly breathtaking. I have spent so many years listening to her music that it was amazing to see it performed live in such a special place. She also seems to have a good sense of humour combined with great style and a warm persona so I think she would be a perfect breakfast companion. There will even be a Florence sandal in the Summer – eclectic and vibrant like it’s namesake.
Check out some of the amazing campaign images from Cali and Cale below!