If you aren’t familiar with the Vince Camuto brand, you soon will be. Vince Camuto has quickly become a household name when it comes to affordable, high quality and fashionable footwear. This August he will be launching his full range of shoes, handbags, accessories and sportswear at The Bay. Vince works alongside his wife Louise, who is not only the brand’s Creative Director but also his muse. We had a chance to talk to Vince about the excitement of the upcoming Canadian launch and the success of his first ever fragrance.
Real Style: When did you get started as a designer?
Vince Camuto: Actually, what we did was we always dabbled in shoes and we created Nine West, then we sold the company in 1999. We also made a lot of shoes for a lot of different people. We did Jessica, we did Tory. Then basically someone said why don’t you launch your own then you can get all of the value you want and create the shoes that you want to do. It’s been 3 years now, and we are relaunching the brand to make it under one roof, one brand, one vision. We are now up to 17-18 categories. The crest logo is my family crest. You see it on every product you buy. It kind of makes it genuine. They know they are getting the quality and Vince Camuto look.
Real Style: What is it that attracts you to shoes?
Vince Camuto: Women love them and we love women, it is that simple.
Vince Camuto: Everybody always asks that and it isn’t one woman. It’s a woman who is stylish, who is more positive and working, and she knows exactly what she wants. She’s fashionable, but she isn’t over the edge. She’s not a rocker, but at the same time she isn’t dowdy. She likes a little more sophistication and value, she’s looking for the right things from the right brand.
Real Style: Where did you get your inspiration for the sportswear collection?
Vince Camuto: We get it from all over the world. We look at everything. Louise, my wife, is the Creative Director and she is really the muse for the brand too. We look at where everything is going, we have one vision and we put it together. We like colour blocking and colourful clothing for the Spring. It is seen throughout everything, the shoes, clothing handbags, it’s all cohesive. If you look at the brands in the marketplace, you don’t find brands with a whole collection, unless it’s a smaller brand that’s very pricey. It’s hard to think of a brand that has all categories, that isn’t from a high end designer.
Real Style: Can you tell me about the process of designing the fall collection of handbags, sportswear and shoes?
Vince Camuto: First we meet with our team of young designers and we brainstorm every Monday. Everyone brings something to the table, all different looks were discussed. We choose what look we all want to go after because we want to make it cohesive. We did a lot of experimenting. We don’t want to be one of this and one of that. If something is very junior, we aren’t going to do it, it isn’t us. If it applies to a working woman who has style, is confident and knows what they want, that’s who we want to appeal to, we have someone in mind.
Real Style: What age range do you think the collection appeals to?
It’s huge. We really start at age 18, we have a big College following. It swings, there’s always something that could appeal to anyone. I have friends of mine whose kids are just out of college and all of these girls and their friends are all wearing the brand. I see it at appearances, I have teenagers who are excited and then there could be a really stylish 65 year-old woman who loves the collection, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can find those pieces and work it into your everyday wardrobe.
Real Style: What 3 key pieces do you think every woman should have in her wardrobe this fall?
The moto boot, a moto jacket would be great and the Christina bag, it’s a nice structured satchel shaped bag.
Real Style: You’re launching your first ever fragrance, can you tell me more about it?
I’ve been together with Louise for 14 years and she always used to ask me if I liked her fragrances, and I never really liked any of the fragrances, so we went on a mission to come out with a fragrance. We knew where our brand was going and the fragrance has had tremendous success so far in the United States. We were on HSN and we sold 300,000 in the first 20 minutes. Louise was wearing the sample and before we were going out on a Saturday night and I asked her ‘what fragrance are you wearing?’ and she said ‘Vince Camuto!’ so I knew that was it and she agreed with me. The shape of the top of the bottle has integrity and is beautiful, we love building and fashion and meeting great people, when people get behind something, they don’t forget about it.
How do you feel about the upcoming launch in Canada this fall?
Oh my god. I love Canadian women. They are ready, Canadian women are known as stylists, they are known for their fashion. We want to give them the value and the look, we are so excited.