by Katie L. Connor
You’ve always been a shoe lover. What’s been the hardest part about being on the design side?
SJP: When we started, I wanted to treat color as a neutral, and people really don’t want to do it. They say, ‘We love the shoe… in black and brown.’ But why would a purple shoe make your brain work less well than a black pump? It’s not your shoe telling your story to your boss or coworker, it is your brain. If a purple pump isn’t appropriate for the office, what you could say then is, ‘My brain isn’t appropriate for the office. It’s my brain that you hired, that likes the purple pump. I’m still communicating and doing a good job – maybe even a better job than the woman in the black pump!”
People think work requires a sensible heel in a safe color.
SJP: A lot of it is these ideas about what is appropriate. Women still involuntarily follow rules – rules they think exist or they project and want to break. Look at women in politics – the way they dress screams, ‘I have no sex!’ Women journalists on the campaign trail have to dress the least sexual they can be. I don’t think it’s fair because it doesn’t have anything to do with why we want them on our news every night or want to elect them. I want to know, who are you? If you love wearing a court heel all day long, that is thrilling. What’s powerful is what makes you feel your best when you walk out the door.”