We sat down with Susanna Carlow, Kids Casual and First Cost Casual Designer in our Design department.
Tell us about your role at Blowfish Malibu.
I design and oversee both the kids casual and the women’s casual first cost product line.
When did you first become interested in Design?
At age 15, I was the art and sports editor of my high school newspaper. My journalism teacher handed me an issue of Women’s Wear Daily (fashion trade magazine) as she thought I might find it interesting. I had never seen so many photos of haute couture fashion and fashion runway photos before. It completely inspired me to become a designer.
What did you do previously before joining the Blowfish Malibu team?
In the past I’ve worked as a footwear designer for brands such as L.A. Gear and Guess. I’ve also taken on the role of senior line builder and design director for branded and private label companies. After a few short years designing home décor, I missed footwear and got back into it.
How did you get started with Blowfish Malibu?
A friend referred me to a recruiter who knew of an open position at Blowfish Malibu. She immediately got me an interview, and the rest is history.
What projects at the brand have you been working on that you’re excited about? Can you tell us about them?
When I came to Blowfish Malibu, about 90% of the line was just women’s shoes taken down to girl sizes. Using my own experience in kids shoes, I built a line that was very kid focused. From easy functional features to stylish fun colors and materials designed with toddlers and kids in mind. I’m proud to say that now, 10 percent of the line is from women’s and 90% are shoes exclusive to girls.
What do you like most about working in the fashion industry?
Getting to travel to the different parts of the world to shop for the latest trends in fashion is definitely a fantastic perk.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
The beginning stage of conceptualizing the shoes from drawings or rendering my ideas in photoshop. A close second is the trend shopping!
The Blowfish Malibu offices are in LA. What’s your favorite thing about the city?
Los Angeles is so special because of the diversity in its people and food. There’s a casual and open vibe that allows you to explore other cultures.
Which is your favorite pair of Blowfish Malibu shoes?
The Rya-K. It’s my favorite kids shoe I’ve designed.
What advice would you have for someone who’s trying to pursue the same career as you?
Always draw your ideas as soon as you can or take pictures when you’re inspired by places or objects. Be open to where your path may take you. I thought I was going to be an apparel designer, but once I started designing shoes, I never went back.
What was the last thing you were obsessed with?
Buying good wall art when I was redecorating my home. I would comb through hours every day on different websites. There’s a lot of bad art out there.
Where are you from and how has that shaped you?
I was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida. It’s a lovely little beach town that has friendly people and is very relaxed. Growing up there makes you more mindful of manners and being polite.
What’s your dream travel destination?
I’d love to see the Aurora Borealis and the Maldives.
If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My dad, who passed few years ago. He was always very supportive of me and my career. He was proud that he got to wear the shoes I designed when I was a design director for a skateboard footwear company.
When do you feel best about yourself?
First thing in the morning I usually do a gratitude ritual and give thanks for everything that is meaningful to me.
What’s your personal motto?
Trust your gut- only you know what’s truly best for you.
I learn the most from: Observing other people and how they do things.
I can’t live without: My kids and really delicious food!
You can find me shopping at: The Reformation, Free People, Zara, Zadig & Voltaire and The Kooples.
My astrological sign is: Libra
I’m scared of: Missing my connecting flight when traveling internationally. Running through the terminals to catch your flight is stressful and airport hotels are the worst if you are stuck overnight.
The last book I read was: The Power of Now
Most people would say I’m: happy
I’m currently listening to: Dua Lipa
My style mantra is: Dress in what makes you feel good
I feel most comfortable: Relaxing on the beach
When I woke up today I felt: Gratitude for all the good things and people in my life.
Most people don’t know: I can do the Bart Simpson voice perfectly.
I feel the best when: I’ve finished a workout at the gym.
We chat with long-time Blowfish Malibu shoe designer, Marcy Cail, in an exclusive interview!
I think it’s fair to say that shoes can make or break an outfit. They are the ultimate accessory and sometimes they even steal the entire show. We all love our shoes, of course, but have you ever wondered whose artistic endeavor and design ended up on your feet? Well, today you get to meet one of them. Friends, we introduce you to Marcy Cail, a Blowfish Malibu shoe designer since 2013 and a shoe biz whiz for the past 13 years. She describes her specialty as, “boots with lots of hardware and bling, sandals with lots of hardware and bling, and sneakers with lots of hardware and bling.” Laughing, she adds, “I think there’s a theme here!”
Marcy, along with the talented Blowfish Malibu design team, travel all over the world to bring back inspirations of the newest original styles. Their creative process includes careful attention to the details that add quality, style, and an unexpected twist to final designs. We got to ask this veteran shoe designer about her inspirations, favorites, and what she really thinks about Blowfish Malibu Shoes.
How long have you been designing shoes?
I have been in the shoe business for 13 years. Initially, I worked in customer service and sales support. The design department intrigued me. I remember thinking, ‘I want to work there and design shoes!’ Later, one of the designers taught me to sketch shoes in exchange for lunch. He critiqued my sketches and taught me technical measurements and standards. Then one day, I sold everything I owned and moved to NY to work in fashion, designing shoes. I have been doing it ever since.
What is your favorite thing about designing shoes?
Shoes make a statement! You really can tell so much about a person by their shoes.
What inspires your shoe designs?
I think my greatest inspirations come to me in my dreams… and those ideas literally keep me up at night. During design season, I keep a notebook next to my bed for this reason.
What makes a good shoe?
I would say a good shoe is one that is inspired by a challenge. A good example of this is the flat Balenciaga used in their S/S 2011 runway. This flat was designed because top model Gisele Bundchen refused to walk the catwalk wearing high heels. Thus, the Balenciaga Cut Out Creeper was designed. I love this shoe.
Where could we find you when you aren’t designing shoes?
Traveling, cooking dinner whilst dancing, running, yoga, gardening.
Where is your dream destination?
An African safari.
If you weren’t a shoe designer, what would you do?
Design jewelry. I love jewelry!
Do you have an all-time favorite Blowfish Malibu style?
The Duo because it is a great example of my obsession with details.
What sets Blowfish Malibu apart from other shoe brands?
There is a whole team of amazing people at Blowfish Malibu, working from all parts of the world (US, Europe, Asia). I would like to say Blowfish Malibu is special because of the amazing designs 😉 but that’s literally just the beginning. I think what really sets us apart is the passion that every “fish” contributes to making it happen. There is heart in the shoes. <3
How would you describe your own personal style?
I am drawn to anything that sparkles, like a moth to a flame.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
An owl. And not because I am wise, but because (like owls) I have a staring problem.
What are you currently listening to on repeat?
“Beatific” by Glass Candy. I wish they would release a new album already.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to get into footwear design?
Seek mentors, ask questions, and make sure you are a part of a great team.
Thank you Marcy!