Photo by Owen Harvey

We love to collaborate with some of our favourite shoe lovers wherever we can, so our recent project with designer Zoe Sherwood was an absolute treat! We gave Zoe the task of making our classic designs her own. Safe to say, the results are fabulous (and you could be the proud owner of one of ten pairs)! To get a better idea of Zoe’s inspirations, we asked her a few questions…

Where did the name Birds & Words come from?

Birds are a constant source of inspiration for me. I love using feather-y materials to inspire freedom, flight and expression in my designs. Words are another form of expression, with more immediacy. I’ve always loved looking at words and I think people’s handwriting is so expressive of their personalities – each style is different and the way the letters flow and the shapes and patterns they make says so much. It’s all this that’s led to birds and words becoming part of my signature style. During this project, this became more and more obvious as my ideas developed. The name just fits.

What values are you trying to encapsulate in this design?

Put simply, truth, honesty and passion. I’m also trying to capture that theme of expression. We dress to express ourselves and my design is meant to communicate this expression as well as the feelings and emotions of the wearer.

Describe your individual style.

With me, what you see is what you get - I am my brand! As I’ve already said, birds and words both play a big part in my style and I’m also a big fan of kiss curls. This adds up into a look that’s at once romantic and passionate with an added sprinkle of playfulness. I enjoy mixing styles, eras and cultures together and I’m committed to the mantra of dressing to express.

How do you maintain your ethical approach to your designs?

I love to work with natural materials wherever I can, and everything I use is sourced as close to home as possible. I try my best to deal directly with suppliers so that I know the exact origins of each element. Everything I design, I go on to hand make and where I do collaborate with others, I’ll always make sure communication is the number one priority.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers?

There are so many lessons I’ve learnt over the years: listen to your heart; always take constructive criticism on board; be curious, ask questions; work hard; respect yourself and others; grow and never stop growing.

Do you wear G.H. Bass shoes yourself and do you have a favourite?

Yes, of course! I have many different colours for all outfits and occasions. And I love them all! My favourites, though, have to be my classic brown original Weejuns Penny Loafers. I’m a brown lover at heart, so they really are perfect! They go with almost anything and add a great finish to any outfit, whatever the occasion. For a dreamier look, I also love my gold Weejuns Penny Slide Mules which add a shine to every look.

You can keep up with Zoe and see all of her inspiring designs on her website or her Instagram!