Los Angeles-based designer, Calleen Cordero, is truly an artist. Her line, Calleen Cordero, mixes metal pieces, stones and dark colors with tribal lines and old-Western patterns. The result is unexpected and stunning, reminding us that the skyscrapers of L.A. are only a stone’s throw away from the desolate desert. It is this unique combination, plus her hard work ethic and inspiring ideas, that sets Calleen apart. Here’s what she has to say.
Shecky’s: What inspires your designs?
Calleen: Nature, ethnic cultures, architecture, fashion, lifestyles.
S: How did you get started as a designer?
C: I started working at the age of 15 and have been involved in the design process of every company for the last 20 years—leading up to the time when I started my own company, Calleen Cordero.
S: So young! That’s impressive. What piece/design are you most proud of?
C: That’s a tough one to answer. I have a favorite piece from every season—there are so many designs that I am crazy for that it’s impossible to choose just one. However, what I’m most proud of is being able to create the marriage of architecture, beauty and exquisite artwork in every shoe that I design—which gives Calleen Cordero its signature look that I know is almost impossible to emulate.
S: Who inspires you?
C: My kids, my friends, my employees—I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many incredible people with so many talents. I’m consistently learning and being inspired by those who surround me.
S: What is your advice for any designers who are just starting out?
C: Don’t give up on your dreams, I know it sounds cliché, but I am living proof that if you have an unwavering passion, you can do and be whoever you dream to be. By working hard you can achieve anything and there’s no one who can tell you that you can’t do it.
S: What is your favorite trend right now?
C: I don’t typically follow trends as I have the luxury to create different designs based on what I like to wear. However, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Mexico and I’m very inspired by the textiles, color and culture there. I will be playing with some of those elements for my upcoming spring 2011 collection.
S: What is your favorite piece from your collection?
C: I’m really excited about my new design of handbags which will have semi precious stones, known to have healing properties, embedded into the front closure.
S: How do you spend a girls night out?
C: When I can’t get out of town, I like to go to the Korea spa near my house in LA—but my ultimate favorite girls weekend is spent at “Calliote Canyon” which is a retreat center that I built in Ojai, Calif.