New to the A&C family, Bronwyn Footwear is a Kiwi brand producing beautiful, hand-crafted shoes in super-soft leather. Named for Creative Director Sarah's late mother, Bronwyn is for women leading multifaceted lives, with an appreciation for good design, and a great pair of shoes. We chat to Sarah to hear more about the evolution of Bronwyn & discover the background to some of Sarah's favourite pieces.
01 First off, tell us a little about yourself and the journey behind where you are today?
I’m a Mother of two young boys (2 and 5), and have been designing footwear for over 14 years now both in New Zealand and overseas. It’s something I never studied ( I studied Industrial Design majoring in Furniture) and sort of “fell into”, but have loved it ever since. My boys are my everything, and two of our shoes are named after them (Vinnie and Cas).
02 Your footwear brand debuted in August 2021. Can you tell us about how the brand evolved? And where the brand pillars stem from?
I think starting Bronwyn was a natural evolution for me that I was never quite prepared to realise until I was on maternity leave with my second son. While I had some downtime (I use that term ironically!), I decided it was time to start exploring the idea of starting a brand of my own. I think when you start a brand you are in many ways naive as to what you’re about to undertake, which I think is a good thing, but it also makes for a very steep and long learning curve - one I’m still, and probably forever will be riding.
'Our brand pillars are Curated, Elevated, Conscious and Heart'
From a design perspective we look at the collection from a “simplicity refined” lens - sharp yet simple silhouettes with a laser focus on details. Our range is curated, focused and built on the basis of wardrobe staples with key seasonal items peppered throughout. We also explore the boundaries between proportion and silhouette in each collection. Consciously we have a really passionate ethical focus, so work with our manufacturing partners on best practises, partnering with accredited tanneries and following ETI (Ethical Trading Initiative) guidelines on how best to run manufacturing facilities and empower and support our craftspeople and so on. Heart is our central focus for Bronwyn - our brands namesake; being inspired by my late Mother and what she taught me about the values of empathy and compassion and how we can practise that daily within this small brand.
03 We’re very excited to have your AW23 Collection available in store. Where did the inspiration come from for this collection?
Collection Four showcases key elements of the upcoming Autumn Winter season; sharp square toes, elongated leg shafts and figure-hugging silhouettes alongside subtle western nods and elevated outsoles. The colour palette is drawn from the idea of a contemporary, uniquely feminine sense of minimalism, a gentle and warm palette for the cooler months.
04 What about your work continues to inspire you?
The brand is named after my late Mother, Bronwyn, and she inspires me daily - I think to lose someone who means so much to you, it is completely life-altering - being able to honour her each day while working on Bronwyn has been in many ways therapeutic for me, and her memory inspires me each day.
From an aesthetic perspective I find I’m sort of redefining who I am as a designer with each season and where I draw inspiration from. I reference trends and what’s worked well in the past, and also consider who the Bronwyn woman is when I’m designing, what her needs are, what she wants from us as a brand. Being so new we’re still defining who she is and so I’m really excited about sharing this Winter with her.
05 We have been eying up the Vinnie Boot ever since they landed in the warehouse last week. We can’t go past the soft leather! It’s divine. What are your favourite styles and which ones do you have on high rotation in your own wardrobe?
The leather is dreamy right?! The back of the leg is crafted from stretch leather, which is made with a lycra on the back to create stretch and allow for a multitude of calf and ankle widths, and it feels great on the leg. My favourites chop and change, it’s definitely hard to pick one! At the moment I’m loving Kimberley and Kodi for their transeasonal qualities, I think my first boot will be either Boston or Moss, or maybe even Maggie - it’s too hard!
Sarah's top five A&C picks:
01 MENU Salt & Pepper Grinders - Brushed Brass
I love these S&P grinders, they’re so stunning!
02 Poets Dream Water Jug - 1.2L Vanilla
This is another favourite of mine, although A&C have such a beautiful collection of bowls, vases and stoneware it’s hard to choose a fave.
03 Raaie Moon Beam Retinal Elixir
I've heard great things about Raaie and so very keen to try this moon beam elixir!
04 Mia Cashmere Jumper - Oatmeal
I’m always on the hunt for beautiful neutral sweaters for Winter, this is perfect
05 Handwoven Everyday Bag - Camel and White
Love these bags, so easy and chic, especially with kiddos in tow!
06 Hammered Cocktail Shaker
A bonus one - my husband and I are getting into our Martinis so a great cocktail shaker is key for us!