Aleksandra Kielpinska is the founder and designer behind the Barcelona-based shoe brand A.K. Latex, and is someone greatly admired at Vex. She shares more about how she began designing with latex and what she loves about it, how she wears it, and her dream client.
Read the interview below and be sure to keep scrolling for some perfect pairings of Vex and A.K. Latex styles.
VEX: Can you tell us a bit about your background as a designer? Why did you want to get into design and how/where did you begin?
Aleksandra Kielpinska: I moved to London and studied Art & Design. After that, I did a BA of Cordwainers Footwear at the London College of Fashion. But creativity was always part of my life since I was a kid. I remember that I used to build houses and sew clothes for my dolls.
Vex: Latex is an interesting fabric and one that at least some people seem to shy away from. Why did you begin designing with latex? What do you love about it?
AK: I used to work with a shoemaker in London who was making fetish shoes that were for a specific clientele. I found it fascinating and wanted to add my personal touch to it.
I had a trip planned to Berlin and wanted to go to a nightclub called Berghain, which is known for being very hard to get into. I didn't have a proper outfit for the occasion, so I had the idea of taking that fetish vibe and experimenting with new shapes and materials. I bought a thick latex sheet and researched how to work with it. That's how I made my first pair of latex boots.
For me, latex is like a second skin, and I like the way it's wrapping the body. It is sexy, flattering, and versatile; it’s a great material for day and night.
Vex: Why do you think it’s so intimidating to some people?
AK: I’m not really sure. Some people think of it as just a fetish, but it can be so comfortable and flattering as well, the way it wraps your body. It molds to your shape and it helps you stand out because it’s something different.
Vex: Why did you focus on designing shoes? What's your favorite shoe design in your current collection? How would you wear/style it?
AK: I always struggled to find shoes that would go with my style. Hence I started designing and thinking about myself, my needs, my dreams. Sometimes I let myself loose, and made shoes that weren't even wearable. It's all part of the creative process. All that took me where I am now: latex boots. I love the product I make, and I am glad other people appreciate it too.
My favorite shoe design is theAK02, a buckle front latex boots with a ridged rubber sole, laced-up. I am always in a hurry, and I need a shoe that allows me to walk fast and make me stand out from the crowd. This style can be worn everywhere, whether it’s coffee or elsewhere; and if you want to be visible but not too much, they’re perfect. You can wear them with shorts and a t-shirt, a long dress with an open back or high waisted undies with a giant zipper in the back, nipple covers, and a face mask. There are endless combinations.
Vex: Where can people buy your shoes?
AK:Instagram andemailis the best way to order. Everything can be personalized and customers can request particular colors or custom details, like a zip-up versus lace-up. Everything is handmade in Spain.
Vex: Who’s one person that hasn’t yet worn your designs that you would love to see wear them?
AK: My dream would be to seeRuPaulwearing a pair of A.K. Latex. He supports LGBTQ+ rights and fights for equality.
I'm a big fan and, let's be honest, he has great legs.
Vex: What would you put him in?
AK: Anything, but probably something in gold and a platform heel.
Vex: Where do you find inspiration?
AK: Most of the designs I make come from my dreams. I take inspiration from what surrounds me: art, daily things, feelings.
I develop these thoughts in my notebook, start the research, and when I have a clear idea of what I want, I make a few trials and fittings until I get the final product.
Vex: All business owners have challenges, but can you share some perspective on your experience as a female business owner and designer?
AK: Many customers are surprised to learn I’m a woman; they just assume I’m a man. Designing shoes has traditionally been a job mostly done by men, but it’s time to change.
Vex: What other designers do you admire?
AK: The dream, when I was younger, was to work forAlexander McQueen. I admire his vision, and I think every design is a piece of art.
I also believe thatVivienne Westwood is a fashion revolutionary, not only for her provocative designs but for the message she spreads to the world: buy less and choose well.
I couldn't agree more.
We rounded up the best style pairings from Vex and A.K. Latex to show you how to wear a sexy, versatile, full latex look, no matter the occasion.
AK05, an open toe boot with an oval platform, in pink withthe flutter bodysuit orthe divide dress
AK02a buckle front boot with rigged sole, in black withthe trench dress orthe clip skirtwith a tee. Addpasties like Aleksandra suggested for an extra touch.
AK06, an open toe heel-less boot with a side zip, in black with the python bodysuit or the sleeveless bodysuit. Don’t forget to accessorize with a beret and gloves.
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