Prints, Patterns and Pops of color!
These are a few of her favourite things!
Adrianne Assenheim is the maker behind the eco friendly brand Brave New Soles,
a company that values creativity, conscious design and giving back to their community!
Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Adrianne Assenheim. I am a 35 year old mother of two boys from Toronto, Ontario. I have a background in costume design, having lived and worked in NYC prior to moving home to Canada. I began making shoes for theatre almost 15 years ago, but didn’t start making kids shoes until I took a class at Art and Sole about 4 years ago. That class literally changed my life!
What inspired you to take classes at Art and Sole?
I have a background in shoemaking, having studied under Jeff Churchill of Jitterbug Boy almost 15 years ago now, but with no space or capitol to set up the necessary equipment I assumed that time in my life was over. When I had my first son I sank into some pretty deep postpartum depression, and my father gifted me a class at Art and Sole in an effort to get me out of the house. That’s when I made my first pair of cut and sew crib shoes. When I realized that I could continue my love of shoemaking with little equipment I began obsessively making shoes for my son. Soon I was receiving requests for them through instagram and Brave New Soles was born!
Adrianne's First pair of handmade baby shoes created in our Baby steps workshop
Colourful Clogs created By Adrianne in our Beginner Shoemaking Workshop
Tell us more about the style of shoes you design for Brave New Soles?
Since beginning with crib shoes I have created my own patterns for various styles and collections and branched out into sneakers for the whole family as well. I have set my sights on adding some new soled styles in the coming months, and am excited to get them out there to the public!
A beautiful assortment of colors and patterns available at Brave New Soles
What type of materials do you like to work with and why?
I primarily work with leather, focusing on using offcuts from the theatrical and design industries to create limited edition styles as singular as their wearers. I love the smell, the hand and the possibilities of leather, but try to approach my designs from a zero waste angle as I truly believe we must all do our part to live as sustainably as possible. I am also the first children’s footwear designer in Canada to use Pinatex, a vegan alternative made of pineapple fibres.
How would you define your style?
My design aesthetic seems to always come back to the juxtaposition of simplification and exaggeration, so I really gravitate to wild print pairings and simplified shapes.
If you were a shoe what type of shoe would you be?
I used to think I would be a really wild Fluvogian high heel but I am realizing now I am much more of a sneaker with pizzazz. I am one part fashion, one part comfort and I need to be able to take on any situation in an instant, so flexibility is key!
What does being a maker mean to you?
I think being a Maker is something innately inside you. I don’t think it’s possible to escape Making if you are born with the bug. I for one can’t stop my hands from creating and the odd time I do I find I fall into a bit of a funk. I find Making meditative, it is where I work everything out, how I express myself and how I make sense of this crazy world we live in.
How does being a maker affect your relationship with shopping and retail?
I struggle with the concept of consumption as we see if today. I think we as a society have been trained to value quantity over quality and I want to act against that impulse. I create heirloom quality products meant to be worn with love, passed down or cherished as keepsakes, but not thrown away. I also make sure that every purchase helps the greater community. For every pair of Brave New Soles I sell, I make a donation to Shoe Bank Canada which facilitates the distribution of 3 pairs of used footwear to Canadians in need. Making gives me so much, I want to do everything I can to make sure that I am not taking more than I am giving.
What other makers or brands do you admire and/or turn to for inspiration?
I have always admired John Fluevog’s creativity. I also admire Manolo Blanik for his wildly dream-like imaginings. Jeff Churchill is a constant inspiration, he and his team can literally create anything and I am in constant awe. Finally, I have a real love for the work of Nick Fouquet, a milliner who sets fire to his hats to create the most stunning and singular effect. When I really need a hit of inspiration, I usually turn to chefs and drag queens, both really know what’s what.
Behind the scenes in Adriannes studio
What’s next for you!?!
I am so excited to launch a new line of soled shoes, hopefully in 2020, which will include a full size curve. I am also launching a couple of new soft sole collections for infants that I am really excited to unveil in the coming months!
How can we follow along with your next steps?
I’d love for you all to follow along on my adventures via instagram @bravenewsoles! It’s a great way to tune in to my most up to date projects, custom designs and shenanigans in Motherhood. You can check out my current styles and request custom orders at bravenewsoles.com, and don’t forget to tag your littles rocking their Brave New Soles with the hashtag #raisebravesoles!