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Stacey Chia
Urban, The Straits Times
Thursday, May 8, 2014

Super dupa appeal

Urban, The Straits Times | Stacey Chia | Thursday, May 8, 2014

British shoe designer Sophia Webster. Chiara heel (inset, top) and Lyla heel (inset, bottom).

British shoe designer Sophia Webster's creations are the stuff of sweet dreams.

Stiletto heels studded with pastel beaded hearts, sandals encrusted with brightly coloured crystals and pumps emblazoned with butterflies - all conjuring up images of candy shops.

The 29-year-old designer says her vibrant shoes are created for women "who love having fun, colour and shoes that express their personalities".

In person, Webster seems the opposite of her exuberant target market.

In town last week to launch her spring/summer 2014 collection, she was soft-spoken and modest during the 20-minute interview. Any eye contact was fleeting.

There is no doubt Webster loves colour. Her wardrobe choice was a multi-hued dress by British label Lulu & Co. and Scottish designer Louise Gray, and a mint green cardigan by British online retailer Asos.

"I do wear monochrome, but never just black. I think I would be really depressed," she says.

Her current collection is only her third since she started her eponymous label in 2012, but she is poised to become a celebrated name in the world of shoes. The year she launched, Conde Nast Footwear News named her its Footwear Emerging Designer.

Her debut spring/summer 2013 collection was picked up by key retailers, including Harvey Nichols, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. She also won the British Fashion Award for Emerging Accessories Designer last year.

And among the fashion-savvy public, her stock is soaring. Her latest collection, titled Super Dupa Fly, went on the shelves at On Pedder Scotts Square last Tuesday and by midday, many sizes were out of stock.

Not too shabby, considering that prices range from $370 for a pair of wedges to $1,220 for heels. The On Pedder spokesman says that stocks have since been replenished.

But Webster knows she has barely begun. "I don't sit back and think about success," says the London-based designer.

"I'll finish a season and move on to the next. I'll keep trying to evolve and make things better."

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