Zoe Kratzmann embodies the qualities that the successful designers of tomorrow should have; not least among these is her strong sense of ethics, as iSpyStyle reports
Kate Vandermeer is Director of iSpyStyle – a website and consultancy that spies on the design and fashion industry providing trend and business information targeted to inspire, inform and connect the creative community. You can follow Kate on Twitter at – http://www.twitter.com/iSpyStyle_Kate and subscribe to her website for free on http://www.ispystyle.net
It’s always inspiring to meet a new designer who thinks about the world beyond their own label and the impact and contribution their business has the potential to make. This was the case when I recently interviewed Zoe Kratzmann. Aside from designing unique, stylish shoes and wholesaling to a variety of boutiques across Australia, Kratzmann has a strong custom design side to her business, creating collections in collaboration with Zimmermann.
Digging deeper, I also discovered an intelligent, empathetic woman who has merged her love of designing shoes with her desire to support low-income entrepreneurs through her association with international micro-finance venture the Kiva organisation.
“The concept of person to person micro lending, blew my mind when I first heard of it. It’s personal, specific, deals with real individuals and you get updates on their progress whilst empowering people. It can really help people achieve economic independence.”
Working with manufacturing in China, the designer says, “My business needs to be ‘good’ from the ground up. I couldn’t put my name to something that was not operating under fair and ethical terms. I have spent, and continue to spend considerable time in the factories seeing first hand the working conditions and the working hours. Currently, there is a shortage of skilled labour in various areas of China including the factory I use, which means employees need to be remunerated above the award wage in order to keep their services. Not always a good thing for the factories bottom line, but good for the employees.”
Kratzmann’s brand of ‘conscious’ designing, typically occurring in niche, boutique SME’s looks set to become even more popular as ethical and sustainable practice becomes inherent to brand values.