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One on One: Shoe Designer Gio Metodiev on His New Line GIO DIEV

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Gio Metodiev started out in the world of PR, handling the American press for Dolce & Gabbana. But recently, he switched gears, and set up shop as a shoe designer, with his line aptly titled GIO DIEV. He learned the ropes in Italy, studying the every move of local artisans before he got involved in the design technicalities. On a recent trip back to the place where he learned his skills, Racked National chatted with Mr. Metodiev about Buddhist towns in Northern Japan, the concept of the Female Warrior, and why, according to Gio, he has the best job in the world.

Racked: From the world of PR to launching your own shoe brand—why did you decide to flip gears and try your hand at designing?

Gio Metodiev: Designing shoes has been a passion of mine for a long time. I always used to sketch shoes and all kinds of details during my free time. Initially it was just for fun until one day I looked at all the folders of drawings and realized it was time to make something out of them. I see each shoe as a miniature sculpture. When it’s perfectly made it’s like a glorious vision of precision and beauty. And of course when poorly executed it can be a total disaster.

Racked: Was this something you always wanted to do?

Metodiev: Yes and no! I believe it was always in me but I just wasn’t aware of it. I knew I wanted to be a creative person and was searching for ways to channel that desire. Creating shoes happened quite organically. It was like an instant draw.

Racked: How did this come about?

Metodiev: The best place to make shoes in the world is Italy so the next logical step was to move there and learn about the craft from the shoe artisans themselves. Making shoes is a very complicated and technical process and even though you might have a great idea on paper, it is a still a long road until it becomes a real, functional object. Spending months at a time at the artisans’ studio, cutting leathers and developing heels, it gave me the best skill-set and really prepared me to launch my own company.

Racked: What inspired the collection?

Metodiev: The Fall’11 collection was inspired by the concept of the Female Warrior and its strong aesthetic of bold and sharp lines. My father, who is retired now, was a tailor and used to design military uniforms throughout his entire career. I guess quite subconsciously I was inspired by my childhood memories of watching my dad cutting and sewing fabrics, creating these silhouettes that spoke of so much confidence and strength. These are the same exact attributes I was looking to purvey into my own collection. I remember how nervous I was when showing him the sketches for the first time?but thankfully he loved everything.

Racked: Do you miss the world of PR? Are there any synergies between the two professions?

Metodiev: To be honest, I feel like I’m doing more PR now that I ever did before. Being a start-up company, you spend every single day promoting your brand and getting your creations out there. The truth is, you could have the most amazing collection but if you don’t know how to showcase it, you end up having these great museum pieces that just sit in your closet.

Racked: How did you come up with the names for your shoes? Any interesting stories?

Metodiev: Most shoes are named after girls names, but I found that to be a bit too cute. Imagine calling the silver blade heel boot ‘Lucy’ or ‘Daisy’?! ‘Waterloo’ just fits it so much better. It also gives them a sense of life if you will. It’s no longer just the black bootie with chiffon, but it’s ‘Pompei’ and people refer to it as that. As a rule, I always name them after places around the world. They could be these grand historical and mythological cities or a small Buddhist town in Northern Japan. That’s how the name for the ‘Nikko’ pump came up. I was there a couple of years ago and just fell in love with its aura and perfect serenity.

Racked: What are you working on next?

Metodiev: I’m in Italy at the moment, putting the finishing touches on the upcoming Spring season. At the same time already brainstorming on Fall’12 concepts and ideas. Having such a small team, I’m constantly in the race to get things done and stay ahead but how could I complain? It’s the best job in the world!
· GIO DIEV [Official Site]
· All One on One posts [Racked]