Meet Jenna! She designs all of your favorite shoes, handbags and accessories at Cato. A glitter fanatic and animal print enthusiast, Jenna works hard to make sure all of our fashion add-ons top your most-wanted list. Keep reading to learn more about Jenna and her life here at Cato!
What made you want to go into design and shoe design, specifically?
I have always been exposed to art in some way. Whether it was painting, drawing or crafting. I loved making clothes for my Barbie dolls! I’ve always had an eye for creation and was very good at sketching. My mom said I used to be so particular about what I wanted to wear to school and I would want to change the details of garments she purchased to make it “my own!”
I became interested in accessories in particular while I was in high school. I took a couple of pre-college courses at FIT in New York, specializing in Accessory Design & Fashion Illustration. I loved it! However, believe it or not, I ended up majoring in Sportswear with a concentration in Menswear Apparel at Marist College. When I went to work after I graduated, my first job was in accessories (specifically sunglasses and jewelry). When I moved here to North Carolina and started working at Cato, I was given the opportunity to begin designing exclusive accessories and SHOES! Shoe design is very technical and there are a lot of components so my creative juices are flowing more than ever!
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I am always inspired by color, texture and materials first. When I look at materials that I am about to use in a design, I am constantly checking the handfeel. It is so important. I then look for shades of colors that compliment the outfits we are doing for the season. I also love throwing in some pizazz with a hint of animal or metallic wherever I can. I adore leopard print and sparkle! Accessories are often personal and emotional to us, so you have to have fun with it! Who wants their closet to be boring?!
What is your favorite pair of shoes you have ever designed?
My absolute favorite will be coming out this fall. It is a suede leopard bootie! It also has a matching handbag that I designed along with it! I cannot wait for it to hit stores later this year!
We’re so excited about the great spring shooties we have available right now. What are some of your favorite details featured on the shooties that make them special?
I love that our shooties can be worn with a dressy or casual outfit. That’s the beauty of a shootie! It hits at the right spot of the leg that you are able to wear them with your favorite pair of jeans or with a dress. We offer shooties in many different heel heights and toe shapes. There is something for everyone! This spring in particular we have shooties with cut-outs, lasercuts, studs, tassels, and are all in the best premium materials you can find.
What is one of your favorite ways to style shooties for everyday?
I love wearing a chunky heel shootie with a dress! It is perfect to wear to work then go out with friends for dinner or a date! Casual, yet dressy…and cute, of course!
What exciting trends can we expect to see this spring with shoes?
There’s a few trends that we stand for in shoes specifically this spring. Lace-ups and ankle interest as well as gladiators are elements you will see throughout spring and into summer. Whether it is a flat sandal, a wedge or a closed toe flat, we added elements that wrap around your ankle for that extra fashion forward look and femininity. We went back in time a little and created some retro looks with wood bottom platforms and patchworking. In our sandals and wedges you will see rope details, braiding and crochet elements perfect for the warmer weather ahead. The best thing about this season is there is so much variety!
Tell us about your favorite pair of shoes you’ve ever owned. Do you still have them?
I have a pair of flip flops that I wear all the time. I have had them since 2009. They are black with a bow and rhinestones. The best part is that they have a gel insole so your feet feel so comfy! I have bought 3 other colors since then! I just love how they are simple, feminine and comfortable. I always get compliments on them too!