Sophia Webster may not have the backing of a major fashion conglomerate or public investors, but her London Fashion Week presentations are every bit as impressive as those that do. The former design assistant of Nicholas Kirkwood showed her spring 2015 collection presentation in the Vaults, a graffitied series of tunnels that run beneath Waterloo Station. There, in a spot once popular for raves, she assembled a mock jungle-themed rave of her own: Visiting press and buyers were led through a black, graffiti-walled maze that still smelt of fresh spray paint, designed by set designer and illustrator Gary Card. Scantily clad models with bright heavy makeup and coiled or braided hair posed against the walls or on benches shaped like jungle animals, wearing Webster's heavily decorated shoes and pop art-style clutches, which were labeled with words like "Wildest Dreams" and "Bananas."
As a devoted flats wearer, I was happy to see Webster develop more of those styles alongside her pencil-thin stilettos: There were slip-on sneakers of many patterns, jeweled flatforms in canary yellow, pointed-toe sling-backs in pink leopard and Birkenstock-style flats printed with bananas. Webster had noticed that lot of her buyers had started coming into her showroom wearing flats over the last couple of seasons, so she "had to adapt" to new styles, she said. "But that works for me!" she said, gesturing to the flats she was wearing.
The last model was a litte girl, wearing a watermelon-print backpack and matching slip-ons, part of Webster's growing children's line, now in its second full season. Childrenswear isn't the only area she's is growing into: She's also planning to expand her presence in the U.S., which is already the biggest market for her shoes and accessories. (She sells to the U.S. through Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, select Nordstrom stores and Net-a-Porter, among others.) She recently hired Starworks Group's U.S. public relations arm to ramp up publicity, and will soon be hosting her first sample sale there. "My Instagram followers will be really happy about it, because they always moan at me when I say I am hosting one on London!" she laughed. We wouldn't be surprised to see Webster's name pop up on the New York Fashion Week calendar in a season or two as well.