Today’s #FollowFriday segment is one of our faves. We caught up with the badass founders of the Young Designers Collective, Harmony Pilobello and Shipa Iyengar, self-proclaimed “creators of beautiful things, havers of crazy, glorious ideas, and believers of dreaming big or going home.” We met these ladies at a NYC bridal event and were blown away by their creativity, kindness, and magical bridal accessories.
Their bridal line, Untamed, features custom and handmade pieces like tiaras, fascinators, and even horsehair crowns (!!).
No doubt we’ll have more to share on their bridal collection down the line, but today, we’re getting the scoop on Alterre, a 21-in-1 shoe with 125 interchangeable combinations.
Shoe lovers, read on!
1. How did you get started as a designer? Was it something you always wanted to do?Growing up, I would always day dream about inventions I wanted to make. I loved both art and solving problems, so I think becoming a designer was an organic solution to joining two things I loved doing. It wasn’t until I went to Parsons, that I started pursuing design as a career and that’s where I was fortunate enough to become friends with Shilpa, the cofounder of our company Young Designers Collective.
2. Tell us about what you’re working on right now.
We just launched a shoe line called Alterre (all – tare). We’ve been working together to develop this idea for a few years now, and I’m excited to see it become available to the American market. The shoes come in two different heel heights and have interchangeable straps in five different styles. In total there are just over 125 different style/color combinations. Our goal is to offer fashionably comfortable shoes to women on the go. We both travel pretty regularly and love to travel light. With these shoes, it saves space in our suitcase, while also maintaining a versatile wardrobe on the road. The shoes are so comfortable we’ve found ourselves wearing them instead of our other heels!
3. What inspired you to be a charitable vendor?
Shilpa and I were both raised by very strong women that overcame obstacles to provide us with a life of opportunities. I was raised by a first generation single mother who battled cancer for the majority of my adolescence. Seeing all the people that were generous with their time, money, and other resources affected me at my core. To then see my mom give back to people who were less fortunate really brought things full circle for me; being charitable is not just for the wealthy and fortunate, it’s an important element of being a part of a community.
4. What do you do to give back? What type of charities do you support?
We donate 5% of our profit to Restore NYC, which is a 501(c)3 that offers long term rehabilitation centers for foreign victims of sex-trafficking. Because both my partner and I were raised by such inspiring women, we want to help these victims regain agency and develop new roles in their lives so they can in-turn inspire those around them.
5. What are your favorite pieces to create?
I love our Elsie Look. This particular strap is inspired by Elsie De Wolf aka Lady Mendl who decorated the interior of the first social club for women in New York. De Wolf became known for her sophisticated taste in style and successfully established her career as an interior decorator at a time when the industry was mostly dominated by men. The Elsie Look is designed to be secure around the foot and easily dressed down or up. It’s appropriately my go-to look for galas or just a classy evening out.
Visit Young Designers Collective to shop one-of-a-kind looks for bridal and beyond.
KICKSTARTER: Shilpa and Harmony are creating two brand new looks and a high platform heel for next season. Be part of their story and scoop up some sweet shoes along the way!
Know a charitable wedding or lifestyle vendor who’s using their business to give back? Let us know in the comments and we might feature them next week!