Q: I read you are also a DJ and love dancing. What kind of music do you like?
A: I love all kinds of music as long as it’s good! When I was dancing professionally I performed to all types of music from live classical orchestras to DJs playing electronic. When I DJ I love to mix it up: I play electro, hip-hop, 80’s new wave and punk, rock, disco, even tango, etc.. depending on the ambiance and my mood. At work I love listening to old school hip hop, jazz, electro pop, and classical music.
Q: Are your creations influenced by music, dance or other fine arts?
A: Absolutely! I studied art history and dance and was an arts and culture journalist and dancer before I started designing. I really believe that exposure to all types of artistic inspiration opens up new channels of creativity so I am constantly searching for new music, seeing art exhibitions, films and performances and continue to take dance class which are all great ways to free up creativity in the mind. I also love to collaborate with artists on special projects.
Q: How is it to live in Paris for a Thai-American lady?
A: Living in Paris for a Thai-American is a dream come true but can also be a nightmare! I love Paris for its beauty, art, culture, gastronomy and fashion inspirations, but it can be a frustrating place to work in. Besides not being very business-friendly, Paris lacks the dynamic energy and convenience of cities like New York or Bangkok–where you can go out or get what you need no matter what day or what time it is.
Q: Do you think you could have developed your shoe business anywhere else besides Paris?
A: Yes, and I’m planning to develop my business more in Asia and the US. I started “Pring” shoes in Paris because I choose to live here and I still love to work in Paris and take profit of all of this gorgeous city’s cultural and artistic inspirations, but the goal is to develop the brand internationally.
Q: Can a good pair of shoes cost less than Euro 100?
A: Definitely, but depends how they are made and distributed. For example, my shoes are all handmade in my own factory in Thailand and because the labour costs and certain material costs (such as the lasts, exotic skins) are lower there I can achieve the same high quality as made in Europe shoes for a much lower price. In Thailand I am able to sell my shoes at about 100 euros (about half of the retail price in Paris) since I don’t have to pay for transportation or taxes, and the costs of sales staff, rental, and the VAT is also much less over there than in Paris. I plan to expand my internet distribution to be able to offer lower prices while keeping the same high quality.
Q: Among all the famous shoes designers, who do you like?
I love the beautiful shapes of Nicholas Kirkwood and Alaia shoes and also Giuseppe Zanotti for super sexy heels.
Q: Have you ever thought about designin something else like purses or clothing?
A: Yes, I already have a line of bags and would eventually love to design clothes.
Q: Is your company green conscious?
A: It’s difficult to be completely “green” or environmentally-correct when you’re working with animal leathers and chemicals but we’re definitely ethical-conscious because I try to support local artisans as much as possible. All pring shoes and bags are handmade by real artisans and all of our exotic skins are sourced locally from certified farms. A lot of heels are also hand-carved from certified wood by local wood sculptors. One thing “green” is I give customers a reusable fabric tote instead of a paper bag when they buy at the shop.
Q: What details do we have to inspect before buying a pair of shoes?
A: Quality, construction, comfort, and finishing. First, look at the quality of the leather or material, then at the construction: how is the heel attached? is the shoe solid and well balanced? For high heels I recommend dropping the shoe (bottom down) onto a tabletop or solid surface to see if it balances right away or wobbles a little too much. Comfort is also really important: spend some time trying them on, walking and standing to see if anything hurts. Finally, you can check the little details–if there’s a scratch, traces of glue, crooked stitching…
Q: What does quality mean in the shoe field?
A: Beautiful leathers or fabrics, high quality materials and components (for a closed shoe, give it a little squeeze–should be solid but supple, not too soft, not to hard), good technical construction, perfect stitching, nicely assembled/lasted, and perfect finishing.
Q: How many pair of shoes do you have?
A: Too many to count! I make the samples in my size (37) so keep a lot of “test samples” that don’t make it to the shop for myself–one of the advantages of being the designer!
Q: Is there a type of shoes you haven’t designed yet?
A: So many! sports shoes for one. I would also love to design something completely crazy and extravagant, like collaborate with a high-tech company on super hero boots that can fly!
Q: How come many men design women shoes but hardly any women design men shoes?
A: I’m actually launching a men’s collection soon-will keep you updated!
Back to your question, I think traditionally women’s shoes are much more “open” to design than men shoes: you can play with so many shapes, heels and materials whereas men shoes are traditionally more limited in the shapes, textures, and colours, which is why most designers are more attracted to designing women shoes in general. Women shoes are also much more “sexy” and sculptural which attract both male and female designers–there’s this element of seduction when designing a beautiful pair of high heels that you don’t have when designing men shoes which are more limited in shape.
Q: 3 adjectives to describe your style
A: Eclectic, whimsical, sexy but ironic, decadent yet effortless
For more info visit www.pringparis.com