Meet Nicole Shwirtz. Nicole is an emerging fashion designer from Brooklyn who is about to launch her indie footwear line, NicoNine. She definitely embodies the high quality and unique style of Runway Passport designers.
WHAT IS NICONINE?
NicoNine is the footwear company I started that gives women more choices in footwear sizing. Shoes are available in half sizes, 5-13, and in narrow, regular and wide widths. My first design is now available on Kickstarter through the end of the month. All shoes are made by hand in Brooklyn.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LAUNCH NICONINE?
I started learning to make shoes so I’d be able to wear ones that fit my narrow feet.
On my journey, I found out a lot of women had foot problems or issues that prevented them from finding shoes they were happy with.
I found out I wasn’t the only narrow-footed person out there! Not only that, there were a lot of wide-footed ladies too! And then there were ladies with larger feet and I heard how hard it was to find a size 13 shoe. I heard from women who wanted to wear flat or low-heeled shoes but couldn’t find ones that didn’t look orthopedic. I talked with women who wore size 8 regular shoes but enjoyed hunting for up and coming designers so as not to wear the same shoes as others.
For all these reasons, I was inspired to launch NicoNine and give women more choices within the standardized sizing framework.
It took me nearly 7 years to get to the point where I felt confident I had something to offer the marketplace, while also keeping true to my ideals. I wanted my brand to be affordable while supporting women and women-run businesses whenever possible and also manufacturing shoes in NYC.
WHO IS THE IDEAL CUSTOMER?
NicoNine’s ideal customer is a fashionable, modern woman who appreciates small-batch, quality workmanship and knowing that their shoes were made with love, by hand, in North America.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING PART AND WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
The most exciting part is seeing my designs transform from a sketch or drawing to a 3 dimensional, real life product that hadn’t existed in the world. That will always blow my mind! The biggest challenge is finding good, reliable partners for all facets of production, while sticking to domestic manufacturing.
FAVORITE ITEM IN YOUR CLOSET NOW?
My favorite item in my closet right now is an oversized charcoal wrap sweater that I got in Israel at an emerging designer’s shop. It’s been the perfect staple, especially since I’m 8 months pregnant and can’t find many cool wardrobe pieces for my bump these days!
BIGGEST FASHION MISTAKE YOU EVER MADE?
The biggest fashion mistake I ever made was probably my extra wide leg skater jeans back in high school in the 90s!
Learn more about her shoes and help her make them so we car bring her onto Runway Passport!