I believe every woman deserves to have quality footwear, not only the “normal” sizes.-Melissa Longlade
As a fashion hub, France is still conjuring and attracting new design talent. Melyadé brand based in Paris is looking to set itself a part in the world of footwear through its specialty sizes for women. Queen Feet women around the world should rejoice in its newest ally in the fight for footwear equality.
Inspired by her on challenges with an extended footwear size, Queen Feet founder Melissa Longlade, 26, and her partner Dmitry, have recently launched the brand, introducing their classic footwear staples with modern, subtle design details that would appeal to a wide variety of women.
I wanted to catch up with Melissa on her journey to launching her new brand.
SSL: How many founders do you have at Mélyade? How did you all come to meet? Are your professional backgrounds in footwear?
We (she and Dmityr) are (the) 2 founders of the company. We all met at Premiere Vision Expo in Paris. This is my personal project, I actually worked in a music label before. We have collaborated with a designer who has extensive footwear and clothes branding background, and my partner works part time in a digital production company.
SSL: Why was tackling extended size women’s footwear so important to your founder(s)?
My foot size is 44, and since very young age, I experienced problems finding beautiful shoes. In most cases, I was only able to buy men sneakers and ugly looking boots that would fall apart a month later. And I am not the only one concerned. I have met a lot of girls with large feet in France and abroad, and they all face the same problems. I believe every woman deserves to have quality footwear, not only the “normal” sizes.
SSL: Women’s fashion is evolving whereas modern design is being merged with new competitive features like in custom technologies, comfort, or sustainability. Does the Mélyade brand also have unique features that would make it competitive in the new footwear design landscape?
Mélyade proposes high quality, hand crafted comfortable footwear for women that will allow them to have a modern yet classy look on any occasion.
We have developed lasts specifically to offer feminine models adapted to large sizes. The development of lasts is an essential step in the development of our models. Indeed, it is the lasts that determines footwear, comfort, support, and the style of the shoe. We have studied and developed our models in order to offer optimal comfort, models with a harmonious and modern footwear, allowing to erase, among other things, the effect of long feet too often present in specialized models big sizes.
We regularly browse new tanneries looking for beautiful leathers, a particular grain or a specific shade. Our suppliers are mainly Italian and Spanish. Our models are 100% leathers. The linings of our shoes and our soles are also in leather. We also carefully select our accessories (eyelets, zips, laces, etc.). The difference is also in the details!
Our shapes make your feet harmonious and elegant and our material gives flexibility, softness and support.
SSL: Mélyade currently produces its shoes in Porto, Portugal. While searching for the right factory, was it difficult to find one willing to work with your brand, especially since your sizes are nontraditional?
It took quite a lot of persuasion and negotiations with several factories before we finally found our trusted partner. It’s true that not everyone is willing to sacrifice their production units to work on a “niche” product.
SSL: Funding for private label footwear companies is challenging for many female or minority founded brands. Did you all decide to seek investors or are you self-funded? Has either funding option affected the brand’s development and/ growth?
Our project was backed by the Young Creators Funding Program, organized by the French government. We also received investment from banks and private investors. Without the help of our families, however, the project wouldn’t be possible.
SSL: What about the Mélyade design style makes the brand unique?
Mélyade’s design is simple yet elegant, bringing together classic shapes and lines with a subtle touch of eye catching luxurious elements, designs and inserts.
SSL: What was the inspiration behind your debut collection?
Our inspirations are many, from a range of colors to an accessory, a pattern or a lifestyle inspired by our travels. You can can find nude and soft colors that we dynamise with assesories. Like our loafer with is pink but we add a little design and a pink gold buckle on it, or our black boots that on wihci we put a golden line and a mettalc buckle.
SSL: The City of Paris is famous for being the home to many incredible fashion houses. Do you or your design team feel any pressure with the “Parisienne design standard”?
Our design team worked with several famous fashion houses, such as Karine Arabian Paris or Karine Arabian or MPL Sonia B (atelier Chanel). We feel the responsibility to deliver something incredible to our clients, and we are quite confident that this collection finally make them happy.
SSL: Why do you believe many mainstream footwear brands do not invest in extended sizes for women?
The mainstream brands don’t consider extended sizes for women due to the limited market and a costly initial investment into the creation of lasts, adapted tools and increased volume of production materials. This kind of projects just don’t really look good on “paper”. However, the statistics show that there are more and more women with extended sizes every year and the demand for beautiful shoes just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
If you accept yourself, then everybody will.
SSL: If the Mélyade team could choose any celebrity to wear their shoes, who would it be? Why?
We would love to choose all the proud tall women like Nicole Kidman, Famke Jansssen, Uma Thurman, Michelle Obama and so much more ladies famous or not. They represent empowerment and being proud of yourself and who you are. If you accept yourself, then everybody will.
Featured Photos// Courtesy of Melyadé