Interview with Jonathan Kelsey, Shoe Designer to the Stars


Jonathan Kelsey is a shoe designer whose shoes have been worn by celebrities such as Kylie, Madonna, Alexa Chung, and Amy Winehouse. He studied at the famous Central St. Martins College of Art and Deisgn in London and has gone on to design for Jimmy Choo, Luella, andGiles Deacon, launching his own collection in 2007. Jonathan joined the Debenhams team in spring this year, with his Edition range now in its second season.

It is always good for students when high profile designers do collections for the high-street as it makes designer fashion so much more accessible. What made you decide to do the collection?

I used to work in Debenhams as a designer back in 1999 so when they approached me early last year I jumped at the opportunity. Also friends like Matthew Williamson and Julien MacDonald have done collections for Debenhams and have told me how fun it is working with them.

Who or what were your influences for this collection?

I looked at the seasons from my mainline collection, took the strongest elements from that, and put it into the design features of this Debenhams Edition collection.

Your shoes have been described as feminine but still strong and sexy. Is that something you thought about and brought to the Edition collection? And how did you translate your style into handbag design?

I definitely tried to bring the strong feminine design into this collection as it’s such a big part of my mainline collection. Designing handbags was new to me but it was a break from the norm and so let me forget about any problems with the shoes.

Some of your shoes have names like the ‘Kelly’ boots.How do you name them and why?

Well with my mainline collection I use a new letter for each new season that comes out, but friends or singers or anyone I admire, I use. Kylie has worn a lot of my shoes and I designed some for her ‘X’ tour.

Which piece/s of the collection are your favourite?

The little brown clutch bag is my favourite accessory and the black ‘Kelly’ boot is my favourite shoe.

Which pieces would you pick for a student? (A bag and shoe for day and a bag and shoe for night)

For the day I would pick the ‘Kylie’ bag with the black ‘Kelly’ boot. And for night I would pick the brown clutch bag with the silver sandals.






Lots of students are interested in fashion from design to writing. What advice would you give someone just starting out?

Be nice to everyone. It’s a small world and you’re bound to meet someone again even if a few years down the line – they might even be giving you a job! I would say make friends with people instead of thinking of them as contacts.

Prices start at £29 with a 25% discount on Jonathan Kelsey shoes for a limited period.



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