Designer and entrepreneur Aruna Seth applies the skills she learnt from her father to her own glamorous, feminine shoe line
After growing up spending her summers working for her father’s shoe business, designer Aruna Seth launched her eponymous footwear label in 2009 with a range of distinctly feminine stilettos, all embellished with a crystal-encrusted butterfly. Her shoes have been worn by the likes of Pippa Middleton and actress Kate Hudson. Last month, she launched a pop-up shop in Harrods, London.
Aruna seth edit
How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic?
It’s feminine, princess-like and luxurious.
Why did you choose a butterfly as the logo for your brand?
I used to love The Secret Garden [by Frances Hodgson Burnett] when I was growing up and a lot of my inspirations centre around that. The limited edition collection we did for Harrods this season is actually called Secret Garden. It’s all part of a metamorphosis – the caterpillar turning into a beautiful, feminine, butterfly.
What is the appeal of the high heel?
I love pretty things and I’m very feminine myself. I grew up dressing up in my mum’s clothes, and I used to wear her shoes when I was younger. I love the way that when you put on heels it can make you feel good. You never have a bad day wearing heels.
The Aruna Seth pop up at Harrods
Where do you find your inspiration?
I travel a lot and, depending on the collection, I head to certain countries for inspiration and pick up items while I’m there. I was recently in Mexico for spring 17. The colours were beautiful – very eclectic, very bright.
You’ve had great success in the Middle East. Why do you think your designs are so popular there?
They love the bright colours: because they’re living in hot countries, they don’t want greys and blacks, they want something that stands out. And they love bling. The Middle East really understands feminine shoes. I find the UK market is very trendy, and as a brand we are trendy, but we’re feminine trendy.
Aruna seth campaign image edit
Your father also ran a shoe design business, Arena Shoes. What did you learn from him?
He taught me to make sure you always know your market and listen to your client. When you first start designing or you first start a company you think what you’re doing is so amazing there will automatically be clients. Getting and maintaining clients is the hardest part.
Would you ever consider branching out from the stiletto and peep-toe styles you currently make?
We’re expanding into accessories soon – handbags and jewellery – and we’re also going to be making sneakers. We’re making some styles keeping the butterfly logo, as it’s so important for us to maintain the aesthetic that the brand has already.
What do you love most about your job?
I like to be involved in all aspects of the business. A lot of designers don’t realise quite how important the business side is, but my father really taught me that. It was invaluable for me to grow up working in my father’s business every summer, learning about different parts of the company – from design, to packing, to accounts. He taught me that if you want to have your own company, you have to understand all elements of the business.
Who do you admire most in the fashion industry?
Marigay McKee [former Saks Fifth Avenue director and Harrods chief merchant] – she’s my mentor. She’s very inspirational and she has worked her way up to become one of the most iconic people in the industry. She’s shaped a lot of brands and I’m very happy that I can be a part of that.
Favourite clothing brand?
Favourite place to shop?
Last fashion purchase?
A Valentino dress
Last book you read?
In My Shoes: A Memoir by Tamara Mellon
Last filmed you watched?
The Jungle Book
I worked for my father in his shoe shop. I was a salesperson
What would you do if you didn’t work in fashion?
I’d love to work in finance. I actually used to work for Morgan Stanley