I know it isn't summer yet here in the land of Oz, but I can't help but to think of what's to come when the warmer months do come round. With fashion always a season forward, we are constantly presented with many sneak peeks of upcoming collections. One collection that struck my fancy, is Aussie label Cali and Cale, whom specialises in luxury leather sandals. Inspired by international designer Amy Castle's voyage from London to Sydney, this new label tells the story of contrasting notions. While displaying the technique reminiscent of an artisan shoemaker, Cali and Cale contrasts this aesthetic with rich leathers and modern metallic highlights. The collection features bright, colour statements enhanced with the use of luxe metal buckles and detailing. Ultimately, these sandals are pure understated style that embrace the Aussie laid-back nature, but ooze fashion-forward chic for those who'd like to turn it up a notch!
To get better insight behind the label, I was lucky enough to conduct a Q and A with the creative mind and designer behind Cali and Cale; Amy Castle.
L: Where does the name Cali and Cale originate from?
A: 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. This idea of contrasts is the starting point for inspiration in my design.
L: When and how did your love for shoes come about? Have you always been a 'shoe' kind-of-girl?
A: When I was a kid I always liked drawing and making stuff - sewing things together like dungarees to make bags and all sorts of things. After school I continued my love of art and all things creative by doing a Foundation degree in Art and Design. It was then I realised I didn't want to design clothes and that I was far more interested in accessories and shoes in particular! I found out about courses in footwear and discovered Cordwainers in London where I went on to secure a place on the Footwear degree course. I have always loved shoes - not so much in a pretty girly way, my shoe collection has always been varied and eclectic!
L: If there was one shoe that would sum up the image and personality of London, what would it be?
A: London is big, varied and complex, but if I had to attribute a shoe to it, it would have to be the Doc Martens boot. This boot has been affiliated with many of the different street styles and subcultures in London over the generations and it has remained a fashion heavyweight. For me, Doc Martens identify with expression, rebellion, functionality and strength. Doc Martens have had many reincarnations but always stays true to their heritage and the craft behind the product. I like the contrast of a pretty tough look and the styles covered in Liberty and William Morris prints; they show an amazing juxtaposition that London seems to do so well.
L: And for Australia? What would you describe to be the ultimate Australian form of footwear?
A: Australians have a love affair with rubber thongs - or flip flops as you would say back in London! I live close to the beach so see them everyday and everywhere - Summer and Winter, rain or shine! But this isn't just limited to near the beach it’s throughout the cities and towns, they are an epidemic! Part of the reason I started Cali and Cale was to create a range of sandals that I wanted to wear - for me there is a time and place for a rubber thong! I am used to wearing shoes a lot but here it just isn't as practical in the heat, so the ultimate shoe for Australia has to be a leather sandal that is cool, contemporary and as vibrant in colour as the country itself.
L: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
A: I am always inspired by contrasts, they often make for the most exciting design. I'm quite a curious person and will I collect things and images - it could be a photo, the colour of someones jumper or even a piece of rope!
L: If you had to choose your favourite pair of sandals from your latest collection, what would it be and why?
A: I have been wearing all our sandals to really get to know the 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 new and contemporary shapes such as the Paddington and Cross. I think my favourite would be the Parade; this flatform is simple, contemporary, comfortable and goes with just about anything!
L: What's next for Cali and Cale?
A: We will always be about Australia's unique urbanity and sandals are a reflection of that. I hope Cali and Cale will grow to encompass other products like the designs I have been working on for next year – I don’t want to give too much away so watch this space!
So there you have it! Beautiful, to-go, quality sandals I'm sure your feet will enjoy all summer long. I have already put the Shelly style in minty aqua on my wishlist! It's flatform sole and multi criss-cross strapping are the perfect combination of edgy-chic meets comfort and durability. Teamed up with a loose, white linen button up, denim cut-offs and wide-brim hat, this delightful pair will no doubt have heads turning!