Printed Soles' appeals to the Fashion Rebels with unique accessories

Published: 17 September 2016 | by Janine Dube
Printed Soles' appeals to the Fashion Rebels with unique accessories
Printed Soles - Photo by OneVybe
Printed Soles' Amanda Graham was one of the exhibitors at the Africa Fashion Week London 2016 and her stall was colourful and eye catching with an array of painted shoes unlike anything one could buy on the mass market.

Amanda's interest in designing, particularly painting, was sparked from a very young age. In an interview with OneVybe she said: "By the time I was 7 I think I had already designed my own collection. I have always customised my own clothes just because I love looking different."

One of Amanda's earliest inspirations was her Godmother who used to buy material and make her own clothes.

"At the time I was not an excellent seamstress but I could draw and paint. My form of customisation was painting on jackets and my jeans.

"As time went on and the graffiti culture became popular I started painting on trainers. I began designing for people other than myself and my shoes were great presents for friends and family. After a while people would ask me to customise their shoes for them and Printed Soles grew from that."

Customised stilettos

"When I first started out, I wanted my shoes to look like nothing you can see on the high street. Therefore, I purposely design the shoes to be really funky, bright and vibrant.  

"I love the repetitiveness of nature, nothing is a solid block of colour in nature, and it is always made up of tiny particles. I would like to think that I mimic this somehow through a painterly style of art."

Printed Soles designs have been featured on magazines and at major events and Amanda has gained a following from different parts of the world including the US and Europe.

Despite all the love, Amanda is still very hard on herself saying, "I am never happy with something that I have produced. I always expect more from myself, but when I hear people really appreciate what I have done it feels right. It feels like I have contributed to their happiness in some way, which is a great energy boost."

Amanda is always humbled by the fact that people love her work adding, "It really does make me proud when others believe in my journey, it makes it worthwhile."

Customised stilettos

With Printed Soles, Amanda appeals to those who want to carve their own path in fashion instead of just following the trends.

Amanda describes her target audience as 'Fashion Rebels' saying, "Anyone who rebels against the norm loves my shoes. As soon as a Fashion Rebel sees my work they instantly connect to the concept. 

"Most people appreciate the art form and are happy to see something different or wear something that no other person will ever have. My target audience is definitely fashion forward individuals who love to represent their own unique style.   

"When you buy something from the high street, the chances of you seeing another person wearing it are very high. However, if you wear something personalised you will always stand out. To be honest who doesn't like a bit of attention sometimes."

Customised brogues

Printed Soles specialises in bespoke designs for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. One way to make a special day memorable would be to have Amanda paint the date, name or a special song on the soles.

Amanda's products are great as presents for those who want something really unique. On the process she said, "I draw up a mock design, send it off to them. If the client likes the design I will continue to customise a shoe they already own or a shoe I have sourced.

"I love when a client says, you have really made my day, or my shoes were one of the highlights of my wedding or birthday etc."

Amanda became involved with AFWL after attending the event in 2015 and decided to respond to the 2016 call out to all designers.

"It is such a great platform to raise your profile, the show is visited by a diverse collection of individuals. It just makes sense to be a part of it," she said.

Customised guitar

"I would like to do AFWL again as I think it is about to grow into something spectacular. I would love to be a part of that journey.

"I have a very soft spot for African, culture, people and traditions, as it is a part of my heritage so it great to see the such a beautiful growth in the celebration of what Africa really stands for. "

Following her stint with AFWL, Printed Soles will be presented at one more show in the UK and a few in Europe in 2017.

Printed Soles is only going to get bigger because Amanda is very talented and determined despite the difficulties that may come her way. She loves art and said that if she could draw, design and create constantly she would happily do so forever.  

She added: "However, in the world that we live, most people do not tend to gravitate towards this way of life. Doing what I do is not 'seen' as a secure occupation, and it is difficult if you are unknown within the industry. 

"There is a lot of work involved and sometimes the day, month or year is not stacked in your favour. That isn't to say you can't get over it, I look at it in this way, nearly all the great people in the world have suffered in some way pursuing their dreams.

Amanda Graham

"What makes them different from the rest is something I like to call P.S.F perseverance, sacrifice and faith. You need a combination of all three areas to work simultaneously and intrinsically at all times when actualising your dream.  

"Yes, times will be hard but if you don't do it you will have to face yourself every day and that is a worst scenario to be in."

On what to expect from her in the future, Amanda said that she would love to have her own shows incorporating art on many different mediums.

"I would love to transform an art space into an experience and create an unforgettable event. But this will take time.

"In the meantime I will be looking to showcase a lot more and collaborate with other designers like myself and continue to make art focused fashion items for the Fashion Rebels."

For more information:
- OneVybe

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