This article is part of a series of interviews conducted by LIM students with winners of the Accessories Council's 2020 Design Excellence Awards (DEA). Students are enrolled in Fashion Merchandising Professor Andrea Kennedy's Honors Introduction to the Fashion Business class.
Lori Silverman always wanted to create a brand that was innovative and would leave a lasting impression. Not a fad. A brand with longevity has always been Lori’s aspiration.
We met with Lori Silverman to talk about her life, career, and the inspiration behind her award-winning shoes.
“Rose is a very dear friend of mine. She's very glamorous, she’s elegant, and she’s sexy. I think one of the sexiest style of shoes is the pointy-toe slingback stiletto. It was apropos that I named this style of shoe after Rose… All of my shoes are named after women who've inspired me one way or another.”
Lori Silverman® Shoes’ target market is “anyone between the ages of 13 and 100 and beyond,” Lori stated. They are selling worldwide, from the United States to Singapore, manufacturing their shoes in Italy. Lori knew she needed to find skilled artisans to bring her visions to life. After carefully researching many production countries, Italy proved to be home to the talent and craftsmanship she was looking for.
The “oomph” in Lori’s shoe designs are partially due to her branding partnership with Swarovski®. Lori shared with us that Swarovski® has always been a part of her vision for her brand. When she first designed the prototypes, she sent the samples to Swarovski®, and within days, Swarovski® sent back the samples along with a signed co-branding agreement. Both brands complement one another tremendously. Lori uses the Swarovski® crystals to embellish the design patterns on the soles of her shoes.
Lori shared some of her sole designs with us: gorgeous prints ranging from camouflage to leopard to birthstone crystals. Amazingly, there are over 14,000 Swarovski® crystals on the Joan Ombre Pointy-Toe Pump.
There is such great attention to detail in every single shoe. We were anxious to know more about the production process. Although Lori tracks forecasting trends, Lori adores the timelessness of a classic. First Lori selects the uppers of a shoe and one of the patented designed soles. Next, she creates the artwork of the sole her team of artisans handset the Swarovski® crystals. A clear polymer is set only on the part of the sole that touches the floor, making them wearable works of art that will stay intact for years.
In terms of price point, Lori emphasizes that Lori Silverman® Shoes are collectible pieces that can be passed down through generations. To appeal to a wide range of customers, Lori works with different price points: the luxury collection, including heels and flats encrusted with Swarovski® crystals and the collection of heels and flats without crystals. Currently, Lori Silverman® Shoes is about to debut a sneaker collection with and without Swarovski® crystals.
We recognized that Lori is, of course, a very talented, busy, and famous designer and businesswoman. However, we couldn't help but think about the first time a major celebrity ever wore a pair of Lori Silverman® Shoes. What could a moment like that have felt like?
Kelly Osbourne was that first celebrity- and it was an emotional experience for Lori. Since then, she's had many other celebrities wear her shoes, such as Carrie Underwood, Hailey Baldwin Bieber, and Lily Aldridge. Her designs have been in Vogue magazine and on the New York Fashion Week runways, yet every time she sees her shoes, Lori still gets the same butterflies.
We knew it was necessary to get some insight as to how her business was handling the disruption of our current COVID world. Lori has continued to work with retailers. The pandemic has given them the opportunity to upgrade their website and improve their social media presence and work on collaborations to fit the customers’ needs at this moment in time. Of course, such a sparkling brand would find the bright side to a dark time.
We are honored to have been able to have a look into Lori’s fabulous world. To conclude our interview with Lori, we wanted her advice for young women like us who are just starting our journey into this intense and competitive industry.
“Always follow your instincts and follow your dreams. Never give up. Perseverance is key!”
Thank you, Lori Silverman!