Style File: Designer Kathryn Wilson

Designer and businesswoman Kathryn Wilson


Kathryn Wilson is New Zealand's leading footwear designer and has been building her namesake business since 2003. Her clever designs are beloved by women and men who want fashion forward shoes that are still practical and classic enough to wear season after season. Her business has also grown to embrace babies shoes with Baby Wilson established with the birth of Kathryn's first child last year.


We caught up with Kathryn to find out more about her label, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!


Tell us about your latest collection?

We are loving the new season S’15 collection instore, there are pretty shades of dusky pink, fruju orange, canary yellow and metallic pewters combined with nautical striped textiles and textured snakeskin embossed leathers. There is something in there for everyone whether you are after a wedge for garden weddings, heeled sandals for summer cocktail parties or cork flat-forms to wear from day through to night. Summer styling is always so fresh and feminine which has all the girls in the office fighting over their sizes as the styles are selling like hotcakes instore!


What made you become a designer?

I always loved shoes, I grew up in the 80’s customizing my Commando M and King Fu shoes from Para Rubber, always wanting to wear shoes that no one else had. I studied a Bachelor of Design at Massey University and Nottingham Trent University in the UK, returning to NZ determined to become NZ’s next big name in footwear design.


What inspires you?

Friends, travel, music, film, music videos.


Describe your personal style and how it influences your products and brand?

I have a very simple, less-is-more style with my own wardrobe. I like designs to be timeless and sophisticated so you are able to keep items for years to come and not have to replace classics. I try to always include styles in the collections that are designed to be your go-to shoes that you can wear year after year and always feel good while wearing them. Of course comfort is an absolute must so all Kathryn Wilson heels are designed with that in mind. NZ women need heels that they can leave the house in at 8am for work, then head to meet friends for a drink, partners for dinner and get home in the same pair of heels at 11pm without feeling the need to change, this is always our measure of a great style!


Kathryn Wilson Lily heel from her S'15 collection


What is your all-time favourite purchase?

A pair of Dries Van Noten camouflage hi-top sneakers in pastel tones and my two Cornish rex cats, Mr Bigglesworth and Sgt Pepper.


What wardrobe item should every woman invest in?

Denim jeans that fit well and a beautifully tailored white shirt.


Do you have a style rule you always obey?

To always be comfortable in what I am wearing, I have to leave the house feeling confident that my outfit will suit the occasion or day ahead.


What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Having Beyonce take home a pair of our shoes for herself and her daughter Blue Ivy while visiting NZ, and hosting Jimmy Choo for a week in NZ this year, being able to hang out with your hero is pretty special.


What can’t you live without?

My team of incredible staff at KW footwear and the customers who love and support our brand.


Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…



Kathryn Wilson Mullin Loafer from her S'15 collection


Images from Kathryn Wilson

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