Happy Autumn! I’m going to try something I haven’t done since 2020 and write a note to this community. In truth, sharing my thoughts and experiences has always made me feel a bit anxious. It’s become even more difficult over the past couple of years, between world events and personal ones, to trust that what I choose to share (or not share) will be received in the way that’s intended. But screw it. Here goes some oversharing, or at least what feels like it to me.
Re: life events. This July, I became a mom to fraternal twin girls. A while back, when we were preparing for their arrival, my best friend Megan told me that pretty much nothing else except a sudden death changes your life so quickly from one day to the next. Now that they’re here, I find myself pausing every day to reflect on the ways my life has changed and the ways it has not. I’m aware that it’s probably a too new work-in-progress to reflect on the identity that’s being forged as a mom, designer, and business owner, but here’s what I can make of it so far: On one hand, learning how to be a mom is expanding my capacities and reorganizing my priorities (with cuddling with the babies and breastfeeding while watching a series in bed, possibly being the #1 thing I look forward to at the moment of writing). On the other hand, I’m surprised to discover that after such a seismic shift as becoming a mom, I’m still much the same person, but also not, who, among other things, loves thinking about style and finds meaning in running a shoe business.
Earlier this year, pre-twins, I put all of my energy into building the summer collection in anticipation of laying low, creatively speaking, for a while. I think it’s the most inspired I’ve felt in the past 7 years of ZX (though the first pandemic-era spring 21 collection is a close second). It turned out that I wasn’t able to lay as low or for as long as I would have liked. Aside from the economy getting weird, business slowed without my and my partner’s full presence to guide it. And since we have a team, and now a family (!), to support with this business, we quickly realized that we would not have the leisure to release the next collection in our own time. So much for a parental pause – It was more of a downshift! Such is the life of a business owner.
So with my heart expanded but my mental and creative energy temporarily tapped out, I turned to some of the responses you gave us in the last community survey for inspiration and guidance on what to offer this fall. I just want to say how fortunate I feel that you like what we do enough to give us your time and your feedback. Reviewing your responses helped me identify styles that I’ve neglected (cough, cough, glove flat!), colors that I’d been ignoring, and styles to get to work developing for 2023.
The result is a collection that zeros in on your most-loved silhouettes in a color story (which coincidentally reminds me of a screen grab from a Godard film) that will hopefully help getting dressed this autumn easier and more fun.
To illustrate this point, I thought it would be fun to share some outfits I’ve put together inspired by the fall 22 collection, inspired by you. I would love to hear your thoughts–leave them in the new comment section of our journal!
Founder and Creative Director, ZX
If you've been following ZX for a while now, you know that we’ve done a version of navy blue before. This one is warmer and more discernibly blue than in the past. Something a lot of you asked for in general was more classic and neutral colors. One reason I got on board with this suggestion is that I’ve been into wearing navy clothing lately. It’s less formal than wearing black, yet just as versatile. I also appreciate how navy blues create less severe color contrasts when paired with brighter or lighter tones. There are also times while dressing when putting on a black shoe subdues an outfit too much, making it feel ho-hum or weighing down lighter colors and fabrics. I insist a navy shoe is the solution.
I added this color to the collection because it’s been pinned to my inspiration board for several seasons and now seemed like the right time to include it to complement the classic palette. It may remind some of you of F/W 19 Persimmon or the S/S 20 InStyle collab that I always get asked to repeat, but it is neither! Fun fact: The supplier’s name for this color is Lobster and it is so yum. It’s the pop that will turn your basic pieces into a look like it’s doing here with my navy + white blazer, tee, and sweatpant outfit. But don’t be afraid to pile on more color, some texture, and print to the mix when wearing Tomato either!
Gray was one of the most requested colors in this season’s palette, but since we’ve done light gray before, I wanted to go darker, and Graphite was how I interpreted it. But when the samples came back from the workshop it occurred to me that Graphite may perhaps be too similar to Indigo both on the color wheel and in the way that it functions as an alternative to black shoes. I decided to keep it in the collection, and here’s why: Graphite may be neutral, but it is by no means classic! Gray shoes will make virtually anything you pair them with feel modern and cool. I’m a huge fan of the almost ironic effect that this color has on ultra-feminine silhouettes like the Eugenia and Glove flat. Here I’m wearing the Uchi flat with a lighter warm heather gray and darker charcoal gray. I love how the gray chunky mary jane flat contrasts with the menswear-inspired trouser skirt. If you’re wearing oversized blazers or outerwear in menswear fabrics this fall and winter, gray shoes will complement those pieces nicely. Gray is also a great color to add to your shoe collection if you like wearing creamy knits and whites in the winter.
Another suggestion I took from your responses was to add croco textures in more colors. I know this is really just another brown in a different reptile texture. Although I do love a brown croc embossed leather, something I want you to know is that sometimes the pickings are ultra slim when sourcing in Buenos Aires, which is a point of frustration for me. The search will continue for more colors to add, but in the meantime, I like this texture because it reminds me of a 70s snakeskin handbag. Since it’s a very classic, bourgeois-looking material, especially in the glove flat and mule, I like to wear it in a more informal, bohemian way with loose sweats or track pants and a vintage headscarf and trench to make it feel more relaxed. These looks are very much giving what I imagine my mom wore to run errands in circa 1975.
This one is for the metallic shoe fans out there. The ones who keep asking me to bring this color back. I know it’s not for everyone, but I think metallic shoes, particularly metallic flat shoes, are one of the most versatile shoes you can have in your wardrobe for dressing up. The key is to think of them as neutrals. If you’re experimenting with wearing puddling hemlines, the mule or glove in bronze are so elegant peeking out from underneath trousers. For the shorties like me out there, the trick to wearing puddling hemlines with flats, by the way, is by pinning up the hem in the back of the pants so they don’t drag. I would wear the bronze glove flats or mules with an all black look in silky, sheer or drapey fabrics out to dinner or to a party on an autumn night.
If it’s not clear by now, I’ll say it plainly: I love a white shoe. Especially in the fall. I know it’s controversial, and you either love it too or wouldn’t go near it. I think wearing a creamy shoe is so chic and elegant with an all-black look, or an all-white look. Wearing a white shoe needn’t be so specific or so risky, though. Just wear it with pretty much anything you would wear with a black shoe, and you’ve got a look. If a “look” is what you’re going for, and it definitely is one. I think the key to successfully wearing white shoes in the fall/winter is making sure you’re wearing season-appropriate fabrics, and adding a sock when the temperature calls for it.
Thank you so much Fiona. Yes, I completely understand. Inflation has made things very strange and difficult over the past few months for consumers and businesses alike. But it’s also important to take your time to contemplate adding something new to your wardrobe. Maybe as a lower-risk way to try one of the styles, you can peruse the sample sale to find a discounted gem :)
Thank you for leaving such a nice comment :) It’s encourages me to share more.
Thank you so much Ana! Styling a fun outfit is still one of my favorite ways to get out of a rut, creative or otherwise. The Uchi Flats in Marfil are a good way to ease into spring dressing. I really liked wearing mine with boxy blazers and loose straight-leg jeans.
A bit late, but congratulations on becoming a mother. Thank you for sharing the moments you look forward to as a new mother. I think it’s important to find these little moments of joy in the midst of it all. I just ordered the Uchi Flats in Marfil & I can’t wait to find outfits pair just as nicely as the ones you shared.
Love this journal entry. Congrats on the babes and the shoes. And I’m impressed with your wardrobe!