BC: How did you react the first time someone told you “No”?
ZL: Most young designers sooner or later encounter unscrupulous people who discourage and put you down. All the while they are looking to use your talents or fresh vision for their own gain. It’s hard not fall victim to these people, because most sincere designers also have doubts about what they do. It is natural, and it’s part of what makes them true to their art–the doubting. My first reaction to that type of “vampire,” was to surround myself with the right people. I am lucky that I have supportive people I can trust. When challenges come up, we face them together like a family.
BC: When people look at your shoes, what you want them to take away from viewing them?
ZL: I design for the strong and confident modern woman who is not afraid to express who she is in her fashion choices. One day she may feel like a princess, and then the next day she may feel like a president. I think there should be a shoe for each of these feelings. This is what I have tried to offer in my collections.
BC: Do you have a personal motto?
ZL: “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
BC: If you had to describe your designs in 3 words, what would they be?
ZL: Bold. Assertive. Feminine.
BC: What’s next for your line?
ZL: My new collection for 2013 is called “Virago.” And like my previous collections, it is for the strong and confident woman not afraid to express who she is. I have expanded into more accessories this time, with handbags, jewelry and scarves.
BC: Is it easy for women to incorporate your shoes into their everyday wardrobes?
ZL: I do think that many of my shoes have a definite “party” vibe. But they are also inspired by classic silhouettes that I see as having stood the test of time. I think they can also work to infuse an edgy sense of style into day or career looks. Hopefully, I am encouraging women to think about dressing in a new way. Women should ask themselves not “What shoes am I going wear with THIS dress,” but instead “What dress am I going to wear with THESE shoes?”
Diana Denza is a regular contributor to BettyConfidential.