in conversation with

Emme Parsons

Emme Parsons dreamed of designing her own shoes, and in starting her own line, Parsons wanted to inspire her son. Emme Parsons shoes are made with many tenants of sustainable and transparent business practices in mind, bringing the environment to the forefront of a timeless, simple design.

Photos provided by Emme Parsons, artwork by STRÅLANDE

The Basics

I grew up in ten different states and have been living in Los Angeles for the last five years. I studied Graphic Design in college and worked as an Art Director at a magazine in New York before moving to LA. My first real job was in New York at a British company called Quintessentially.

The Beginning of a Dream

It had always been a dream of mine to have a line of shoes and I wanted to be a good role model for my son so he’d never be afraid to follow his dreams. The journey has been long and challenging but so rewarding. I started working on the brand in May 2016 and it officially launched in November 2017.

A Five Fold Approach to Sustainability

As a brand you have the power to make decisions that will have an impact on our planet and quality of people’s lives. I think it’s our social responsibility to try to make that impact positive. These are our five pillars to sustainability and ethical design: In design, classic forms that last beyond trends; constructions allow for nearly 90% biodegradable, natural components. In manufacturing, tanneries use non-biodegradable dyes, suede is bio-based, Italian factories maintain good working conditions. In packaging, all plastic bags are eliminated, boxes are 50% recycled cardboard, dusters made from Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton, shoe lasts are composed of recycled plastic. In philanthropy, nonprofits supported via volunteer work and donation include the American Civil Liberties Union, SELAH and the Good Shepherd Center. In inquiry, constant research into improved practices.

Finding Brand Values

Our brand values are informed by my previous career in graphic design. Defined by discipline, rationality and purity. The label utilizes the rigor of aesthetic rules and acts as a conduit to the less knowable — the still-mythical west coast and the embracement of opportunity and change. We have a very pragmatic approach to footwear design. We focus on quality and relevant yet timeless silhouettes.

A Classic Design

Eloquent Utilitarianism is a belief that function should have meaning and that pure design should be unobtrusive yet emotional. We aim to create designs that are harmonious and reduced down to the simplest form yet still feel special and unique.

Sharing People’s Stories

The Notes section allows us to profile people that we admire and the work that they are doing. We were inspired to create a platform for people to speak about things that are important to them and create a more immersive experience for our customers. I love seeing how other people style their shoes.

A Work Day Balance

No two days are the same and it’s a constant balance between caring for my young son and working with a team that is based in Italy, New York and Los Angeles.

Achieving Goals

It’s been so surreal to be stocked at some of my personal favorite online shopping destinations including Matches Fashion, Net-A-Porter, and Ssense as well as receiving press in the Wall Street Journal, Business of Fashion, and T Magazine.

Creative Advice

Go for it. Be prepared to work hard and move through what can feel like insurmountable setbacks. Inspiration is everywhere. I make time to spend time outdoors and socialize with friends, which always puts a new perspective on things.  

A Recipe for Success

A constant rhythm of sleep and exercise. And Remember to have fun and stay positive no matter what.