Kendall Miles: ‘We are pushing the messaging of be yourself’
Theaster Gates names shoe designer Kendall Reynolds, founder of the Kendall Miles footwear label, as one of 25 creative leaders of the future in Wallpaper’s 25th Anniversary Issue ‘5x5’ project
Although Kendall Reynolds was only 21 when she founded the Kendall Miles footwear label in 2015, her motivation was as clear as it is today. ‘Our mission has always been to become the first mainstream Black women-owned luxury footwear company to bring Italian craftsmanship to the modern shopper,’ she says.
‘But we have definitely seen our approach evolve beyond our product offering. It has become a lifestyle brand where we encourage women to shop luxury unapologetically and treat themselves because they deserve it, especially Black women, because we’re often looked down upon for wanting or having nice things. To us, this is a form of self-care and it resonates really well with our audience.’
This confidence has made Reynolds one of the most inspiring young entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. Featuring glamorous, sky-high heels that are teamed with eye-catching embellishments, ranging from gemstones and feathers to studs and zippers, the Kendall Miles collections are backed by the traditional Italian craftsmanship that we’re accustomed to seeing from big-name labels. Made from the finest sustainable materials, each statement-making style is grounded in evoking feelings of empowerment through its union of comfort, luxury and quality.
Kendall Miles: pushing the messaging of ‘be yourself’
Reynolds is the daughter of global investment firm Loop Capital’s CEO James Reynolds, and ‘represents Chicago entrepreneurial royalty’, says Theaster Gates, who names her as one of 25 creative leaders of the future in Wallpaper’s 25 Anniversary Issue ‘5x5’ project.
In fact, Reynolds steers the Kendall Miles label together with her mother and co-founder, Sandra. ‘Through her tremendous creative capacity and desire to deliver through shoemaking an elegance, luxury and femininity for Black women,’ continues Gates, ‘Kendall is creating access for emerging designers of colour like herself. Kendall is deeply committed to ensuring that the skills and knowledge she has acquired throughout her career about retail and design are immediately transferred to her peers and younger designers.’
As still one of a few Black, female shoe designers creating luxury footwear today, Reynolds’ innate understanding of her clientele and the community she has created is probably the most significant of all. ‘In a world where women are constantly told to dress more modestly and conservatively, we are pushing the messaging of “be yourself”,’ she says. ‘So many of us use fashion as a means of personal expression. We encourage women to dress boldly with our statement footwear and it’s such an honour to be our clients’ biggest cheerleader when they are out wearing our pieces in the world.’ §