Kimberly Zisler, president and owner of Après Style by Zisler, is proving that good things can in fact happen when you take work home.
The former 3D animator turned New York City shoe designer broke into footwear with design gigs at Charles David and Jimlar, where she worked on the Alfani line, as well as the Jennifer Lopez and Simply Vera Vera Wang collections for Kohl’s.
Zisler worked her way up, but it took a bold move, like moving out of the fashion metropolis to live closer to her family in Colorado, to push her to venture out with her own line, Après Style by Zisler.
Described as a luxury comfort line, the brand addresses what Zisler, an avid skier, said is an unfilled and growing niche in the outdoor and après market – warm, stylish boots that are easy to get in and out of fast for post-slope dips in the hot tub. Comprise of women’s clogs and boots, the 100 percent real shearling-lined styles feature patent pending removable outsoles that transforms the shoes into cozy booties for lounging fireside. Rubber outsoles prevent slipping, while water-resistant cow suede and embossed suede add a luxurious, outdoor feel, and shinny hardware elevates the look for the Aspen and Vail crowd.
Zisler said there is a “huge demographic that doesn’t want a crunchy look,” adding that she, herself, is holding out on buying a pair of Merrell-type boots. “But I understand why those are important and why it makes sense for the environment. It’s hard to make this kind of footwear stylish, but I think we successfully created a boot that satisfies both worlds,” she explained.
Targeting retailers in mountain towns and resort areas like Aspen, Vail and Jackson Hole, Zisler said retailers can also be part of the design process and customize the shoes’ interchangeable leather straps to tailor styles to their clientele’s taste level. She hopes to keep the majority of the line’s production in the U.S., which would bring retail prices around $600. Styles made elsewhere (possibly Brazil) will retail for around $400. “We’re feeling it out with the buyers,” Zisler said of the production, adding, “It seems like the outdoor, resort crowd appreciate Made in USA, but really only time will tell.”