Jessica Taft Langdon
Tell us about your business.Jessica Taft Langdon is an American footwear designer who was trained in New York City and Milan. Having worked for a number of years for such diverse brands as Coach, Proenza Schouler, Catherine Malandrino, Alexander Wang, Marais USA & Everlane, she has taken her extensive experience westward, and settled in Los Angeles. After fruitlessly searching the Eastern seaboard for any existing footwear factories in which to develop American-made shoes, jessica was thrilled to find a small enclave of footwear craftspeople and factories in Southern California. The entrepreneurial spirit of the city of angels, as well as the high quality shoe making that she found in LA have both inspired her to start creating footwear that reflects her own personal aesthetic, under the name... The Palatines.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.I do my design work from my home studio, which is flooded with Southern California sunlight, overflowing with shoe boxes & leather and covered with pencil sketches of footwear. You might also find new prototypes in the process of being corrected, or mock ups of new styles, still in development. The walls are covered with inspiration images, and list of things to do, not to forget and reminders of what I love about my work!
What inspires you?The goal of subtlety & simplicity are always inspiring- to create something new with as little as possible. My design process usually starts with materials - I love the breadth & depth of what can be done with leather, and the history that the material connotes, no matter how modern the finish. It's always important for me to reference the long tradition of shoe making across the world - it's such an old craft, and shoes have served as both practical & aspirational items throughout history. I love working with local artisans to preserve the tradition.
What makes your business stand out?Quite simply put, we are one of the only brands making thoughtfully designed basic footwear in small quantities in the United States.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Be prepared for the most rewarding, hardest work of your life. Be prepared to be scared and do it anyway. Be ready to become overwhelmed within minutes, and overjoyed every day.
What does American Made mean to you?American made just makes sense. I live in the US and my shoes are sold here. It's an opportunity to be intimately involved in the process of building my product directly with the people who will make each & every pair of the shoes. It also means that I can help those people build their businesses, and contribute to their own communities. To me a celebration of American Made means bringing back a tradition of shoe making that has been all but lost in this country, and it helps develop the skills of existing manufacturers, so that the industry can begin to thrive again.
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