We had the good fortune of connecting with Isadora Angulo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isadora, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Before I started my own business, I was working as a Wardrobe Designer in Dominican Republic. As a single mom, the work hours were very difficult having a boy under 5 years old. We both felt miserable. Those were really hard times that I don’t like to revisit. After months of feeling like this, I decided to stop. I had to search within me for the answer of how to be a full time mom and a full time creative being without starving to death…and I found it:
I remembered the dreams I had in my graduating year in my university completing my thesis about designing shoes. I remembered how I used to love making shoes since I was little. I would transform the old shoes I owned into something completely different and do the same to my friends’ whenever they asked me to.
Eventually, I started making shoes from scratch, with the little tools I had in my tiny apartment in Santo Domingo. Little by little my techniques improved and my confidence too. I had to come back to La Habana, Cuba, to receive the unconditional help of my mother, my father and grandmother. During that first year back I achieved exclusive exhibits in the epicenter of the creative Cuban community in Havana named Fábrica de Arte Cubano, including several participations in Design Biennales and interviews in the most important fashion magazines of Cuba. Thanks to my shoes I met the love of my life and moved to LA where I got married, participated in the New York Fashion Week 2020 in collaboration with the brand ILE Slow Fashion and most recently, my shoes and crochet wear, are featured in the video of Diane Warren’s song, performed by Sofia Carson, directed by Catherine Hardwicke entitled “Applause”.
The commitment that I made to myself and my son to trust my passion gave me the ability to live a creative life without having to be away from him. Thanks to starting my own shoe business I have the power to connect through my art. Every time I make a pair of shoes with my own hands from beginning to end I have the opportunity to deliver a message. A message of Love and Kindness, and restoration of Mother Nature.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My brand’s name is Isadora Shoe Designs. I specialize in one-of-a-kind custom shoe creations.
I feel I am a participant in the Slow Fashion Movement. The author, design activist, and professor Kate Fletcher, defines Slow Fashion as quality-based rather than time-based. I believe this, because for me to create something is a powerful feeling and to acknowledge the act of creation is a great responsibility. From beginning to end I feel responsible for what I create.
Through my work I celebrate both creativity and sustainability. I implement techniques like recycling and crocheting recycled plastic. I also use recycled fabrics, special remnants of leather, and recycled cardboard, which makes every pair of shoes irrepetible and exclusive. At the same time I don’t have a stock of my shoes, I “handmade to order” shoes.
Mother Nature is my inherent inspiration. I don’t have any pretensions to be a technological machine or a moving assembly line for mass production. I am not an algorithm either. I am a woman trying to express myself, my history, my beliefs and my vision in a pair of shoes that at the same time have to be functional. I like the personal relationship I can have as a designer with my clients and the message I can get out with my artwork.
In addition, I have a Crochet Wear Collection that I developed during 2020’s Covid-19 quarantine when I couldn’t make shoes because I was homeschooling my son.
On my website, a percentage of my proceeds are being donated to environmental nonprofit organizations.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my best friend was here in LA, I first would take her to the Santa Monica Boardwalk, where we can walk or bike or skate with the scent of the ocean breeze, and then we will sit on the sand to watch the sunset while the seagulls and other birds do the last dance flight of the day.
We would visit Abbot Kinney, I love all the handmade items and conscious exclusive products they have there. We will go to have lunch at The Wind-Dow, in Venice Beach, while watching all the Graffiti Art of the area Venice-Santa Monica that tells the story of Los Angeles and its wonders and diversity.
I would also take my friend to the Getty Museum (one of my favorite places), the Museum of Latin American Art, LACMA Museum, MOCA Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry building, The Broad, the National History Museum and the Automotive Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Griffith Observatory and I would take her picture with the Hollywood sign behind!
We would grab something to eat at Kreation in Westwood and visit the historical movie theaters around hoping to see some celebrities!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First I want to give a shout out to the ones I love the most: My mom, my dad, my son and my husband. Without them I wouldn’t be the happy mom, woman, artist I am today. That said, I want to dedicate this special shoutout to Catherine Hardwicke.
Catherine Hardwicke was part of my life before I even met her. Watching her movies was part of my healing process when I was a single mom and the world seemed to be a centrifuged force.
Catherine Hardwicke is an American film director, production designer and screenwriter. Among her credits is that she held the record in 2008 for being the most commercially successful woman film director in history.
She met my shoes in Cuba. I will tell you how. During one of my most important shoe-exhibits at Fabrica de Arte Cubano, the night cultural epicenter of Havana, Adam, my husband (who was not my husband at the time) met my shoes (not me yet) and took a photo of my collection. After months, Adam came back to Cuba and reached out to me, he wanted to meet the shoe designer. He did an interview with me. Later on, when he went back to LA, he told me he was meeting a friend, little did I know this friend was Catherine Hardwicke. Hours later, he sent me a photo of Catherine’s photo of my shoe exhibit at Fabrica de Arte Cubano. Both of them (in different months separately and without knowing) had taken the same photo of my shoes before meeting me in person. The odds of all this were just mind blowing for the three of us.
When I knew I was going to meet Catherine Hardwicke in person, I made a special pair of shoes for her as a gift of gratitude, after that our relationship blossomed into mutual respect and to a professional relationship. One day, she called me to invite me to participate in one video of multi-Oscar nominated Diane Warren’s song called “Applause”, performed by Sofia Carson, directed and designed by Catherine herself. The video and the song is a celebration of the work of a diverse group of women artists in a production team. My shoes and myself were featured in the video. To imagine, Catherine Hardwicke saw my shoes, and somehow she knew what I represented. That was my first official paying job in LA. It is a dream come true.
-Black Primavera, Art Collage Black Primavera, BLM Special Edition was made by artist Natalia Veloz ( @ladearte ) -Photo of Crochet Wear: Bevin Bru ( @bevinbru ) is wearing Divina Ivory Crochet Top, photographed by Candace Andrews ( @shotbycandace ) -Pradera Primavera: Tiffany Ingro ( @tiffanyee ) is wearing Pradera Primavera (olive green crocheted high platform laced up espadrilles), photographed by Clara Wang ( @itsclarawang )