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Designer Charlotte Stone Tells Stories in Color

There wasn’t a big marketing or branding scheme behind the launch of Charlotte Stone’s eponymous footwear label. She considered her women’s footwear line a creative outlet and set about designing with herself and her peers in mind. Stone, who also co-designs a furniture line with her husband, was not as interested in branding as she was in materials, colors and the shoe-making process.

A driving concept behind the line was Stone’s own active California lifestyle: camping, surfing and the general beach town lifestyle. “As a designer, I always want to do something wild and unique, but I’m a girl who has a lot of things to do in the day, so I always err on the side of practicality as well,” she explained.

Stone outlines the inspirations behind her collections in a Tumblr account. The site tells the brand’s story in images: pictures of modern art, ocean life and surfers in shades of pink, seafoam green, aqua and lilac. It was this Tumblr account that launched a big career shift for Stone and demonstrated that sometimes a personal aesthetic turns out to hold public appeal.

Designers at Vans were following the brand’s Tumblr and thought there was a good match between Stone’s California cool and Vans’ surf division. The heritage sneaker brand invited Stone to collaborate, eventually leading to the release of a three-piece sneaker capsule collection in August. Stone added femininity to the silhouettes with accents of her signature shades of pink and rose gold.

As Stone’s line garners attention, she maintains the same minimalism and quiet beauty in her collections. The inspiration for Spring ’16 was Los Angeles-based artist Sarah Cain, whose work is dominated by use of color and whose canvases and installations show a tension between ordered shapes and a free, expressive use of paint.

Her attraction to this artwork is a natural one for Stone, as she too is inspired by color. “We’re always deep into some interesting color stories,” she said. The spring collection features pastels and some brights, like ultramarine blue, along with metallic copper and silver.

For the future, Stone is trying to keep things local and simple. This season she is doing more manufacturing in LA and is working in three new factories in the city. As she begins to work with more LA-based manufacturers, she intends to expand her website and sell more direct-to-consumer, making the sales and distribution as simple as possible.