The Label: 80%20
Based In: Midtown Manhattan
Designed By: Ce Ce Chin, who launched the line in 2005 after stints at Michael Kors and Calvin Klein. "I was dating skateboarders and sneaker collector guys around that time," recalls Chin. "There was such a frenzy around sneaker design for men, yet I felt there was a lack of cool sneakers for the ladies. I noticed I was only wearing 20 percent of my shoes (and clothes) about 80 percent of the time. Really I owned only a few key favorites that were in constant rotation, and there weren't a lot of cool footwear options out there. Where was that Goldilocks shoe that I could pound the pavement in, and still made me feel cute? Since I couldn't find it, I decided to make it myself." The original 80%20 collection - comprised of hand-painted, slip-on sneakers - sold out at Steven Alan almost immediately.
Looks Like: Fun and effortlessly cool, Chin's offerings have grown to include peep-toe platform booties covered in a Polynesian print, cork platforms with tribal-inspired web or raffia straps, go-with-everything cowboy-meets-wingtip booties and open toe loafers in soft nappa leather, designed to show off a pretty pedicure. But her most clever innovation is the Original Hidden Wedge, which adds three inches of interior height to boots that appear to be flat, allowing the wearer to stand tall(er) while discreetly elongating the leg. "It's kind of like the padded bra of footwear!" says Chin, who name-checks Zooey Deschanel's character on The New Girl her ideal customer: "feminine and quirky, fun and witty. And aspirational - she's got big dreams for her life and she's going after them." Kind of like a certain footwear designer I know…
Sold At: 80%20 shoes retail from $100-$200 at boutiques worldwide, including American Rag, Revolver, Atrium, Shoe Market, Ladybird, Blinc, Joan Shepp, ASOS and online at 80%20.