Who To Watch: Kendall Reynolds

The young designer puts her best foot forward with a debut collection.
AGE: 22. ORIGINALLY FROM: Hyde Park. LIVES IN: South Loop. CLAIM TO FAME: CEO and design director of luxury shoe brand Kendall Miles Designs (Kendallmilesdesigns.com), which debuted at New York Fashion Week in February. MOVING FORWARD: After attending the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Reynolds — daughter of James and Sandy Reynolds, Loop Capital Markets CEO and co-founder, respectively — went to the University of Southern California. Coping with a tough breakup, she found a creative outlet. “In my college apartment, I just started sketching shoes, and it made me feel better.” 

DREAM CHASING: When she had roughly 20 designs she was happy with, Reynolds showed them to her mom. “I said, ‘I want to start a shoe brand. I’ll be the designer and I want you to help me build the business around it.’ ” Her mom advised her to finish school first, but Reynolds persisted, and during the summer after her junior year, she went to Milan for a training program at the ARSUTORIA, a top accessory design school.

THE AESTHETIC: The collection — named for herself and her little brother, Miles — is handcrafted in Florence, Italy. “My designs are inspired by the 1940s and 1950s,” Reynolds says. “I do a lot of research in Paris and New York at vintage stores and you find these shoes that have beautiful, super feminine and delicate details. We [now] have so much technology and different treatments and processes, so you take those details from so long ago and modernize them in a way that’s really cool.”

ATTENTION GRABBER: Unlike most shoe designers, Reynolds doesn’t adhere to trends, a move considered risky by most boutique owners and department stores. But in April 2016, her collection (starting at $600) was picked up by ikram (15 E. Huron). “[Ikram Goldman] is one of those few boutique owners who’s a visionary — she can see into the future,” Reynolds says. “Others are so scared to go for anything different. But Ikram [says,] ‘That’s an amazing design, I can sell that.’ ”

IN STYLE: For fall, Reynolds has her eye on sneakers and thigh-high boots. “I would wear [them] with a baggy sweatshirt dress or an oversized sweatshirt you got from your dad,” she says. “Or super-short denim shorts and a distressed leather jacket. It has to be short!”

Source: Chicago Splash Magazine

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