On a hot summer day in sunny Singapore, a friend and I were talking about shoe shops. During the conversation, I was slightly distracted by a pair of sandals on her feet. With thick straps, lug soles and shiny black patent leather, these sandals looked casual and comfortable. On top of the patent leather, tiny opalescent speckles were splayed on the surface as if confetti fell on your body. When I asked her who made the sandals, she replied: "Miista".

With a bit of quick Google searching, I realized that this shoe brand looked so familiar. Seen on countless online stores from ASOS to Nasty Gal, Miista had been making extremely fashion forward classics seen on the feet of celebrities such as Selena Gomez, who wore the brand's Lucite-heeled Amaya ankle boots, to the average civilian like myself.

In addition to its main line, founder/designer Laura Villasenin recently launched EEight last year. While the aesthetic is similar to its sister brand, EEight leans towards trendier silhouettes and materials that are not for the basics. Villasenin's talent for juxtaposing classical silhouettes with trendy colors and dressy fabrics was the key that attracted a total of at least 70,000 followers from Miista and EEight's Instagram.

For our exclusive interview with Villasenin, she talks to us about the inspiration for Miista's spring collection, EEight's soon-to-be-released rainbow sandals, marketing on social media, producing shoes in Spain and a future plan to make a video of its production process.

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Your brand, Miista, is rooted in East London. What aspects of East London inspired you to create your brand?

I would say that street style has played a big part in the conception of Miista. Our hearts lie with Hackney and we are constantly inspired by what's happening in our neighbourhood. I especially love the grittiness and the raw aspect of London.

Given that East London is known for being a trendy neighborhood, what motivated you to start Miista?

The start of Miista wasn't from the street style or from East London, it was started after I believed I had a unique selling point in the market that was fashion forward and competitive in the price point and design.

Was being a shoe designer something you dreamed of since you were young?

No, I always wanted to do something creative, but not footwear. My desire to be a footwear designer only started when I visited the open day at Cordwainers. At this stage, I was only thinking about product design.

Your shoes are extremely popular and I've seen them sell out on retailers such as ASOS, Nasty Gal and Solestruck. How did you come across these retailers? Were you surprised at the positive reception?

We're actually trying to elevate the brand into the luxury sector and we're happy to stock with these retailers on our new brand EEight. Initially, Miista started out at where EEight is now. We've laid amazing foundations for our new brand, but Miista is transitioning into a better quality and better product filled brand. We're now trying to make Miista's original audience into EEight's. EEight is basically Miista's little sister.

One of your best selling styles are the Zoe brogues, where you had it in different textures from holographic and iridescent to sequins. What brought you to choose these materials? And why is the Zoe an essential?

Zoe is essential because it's a classic shape that you can wear dressed up or down. It is a reimagined brogue, something I'm very fond of. I love putting more interesting materials on traditional silhouettes. That's how you make something special; not a lot of brands are doing this at the moment, because these materials are so difficult to work with. We are doing it and it's hard, but the outcome is amazing.

Besides from the Zoe, you now have newer styles in development for Miista's Spring range. One of your newer styles are a pair of gladiator/sneaker called Carla, which is from the Rumi group. What inspired you to take on this silhouette?

Carla is actually cancelled, but Karen and Kim are on the same group and they are going into production. For this style, we took inspiration from lucite after we work with it a lot, but we wanted to produce a sneaker with lucite to achieve a more sporty look.

Another silhouette that I've noticed is the ballet flat/boat shoe hybrid (also from the Rumi group) called Loli. How did this idea happen?

Loli is cancelled, too, actually; but again, Loli came from mixing two elements that wouldn't normally go together. This is the essence of Miista.

In addition to your experimental silhouettes, I've noticed that the entire spring line is inspired by blue. What does blue mean to you?

This collection, AZUL, is commemorative of those crazy nights with your friends when you see the sun go down and you see it come up again. At those moments, when you look at the sky, you see this brilliant blue colour (what AZUL means in English) and that is what plasters the memory in your mind. This collection is meant to embody that feeling and that colour.

Based on the silhouettes and materials, EEight is meant to more trendier and experimental than Miista. Why do you choose to make EEight more trend-focused?

The EEight product is aimed at an age that monitors what's happening in fashion very closely. As I mentioned previously, too, EEight is meant to be Miista's old audience/ or the audience that would have liked Miista's original product offering.

Speaking of your upcoming spring collection with EEight, it seems that you are inspired by the Southern California free-spirited bohemian lifestyle. What brought you to be inspired by Southern California?

Actually, the only part of TRIP that was related to California was the part where we mentioned the Mojave in the press release. We actually just thought this collection fit very well with Coachella and didn't think of California beyond that. It was more meant to be both a literal and figurative trip.

Instead of one dominant color, you include rainbows (as seen on the Valentina pair, where it's like platform Teva-inspired sandal). What drew you to using rainbows?

Tumblr, and the audience that comes with it.

I've noticed that for EEight, you tend to use cutouts and grommets. Why did you include them for EEight?

They're not actually real grommets though, I'll give it to you, they do look similar. We use a lot of hardware throughout EEight, another thing that makes our products unique.

In both collections, you tend to group the designs based on style and silhouette. What is the concept behind the grouping?

The groups are based off of different lasts, basically shoe mannequins. The lasts divide silhouettes that all have the same sole unit or shape. This is how I do each group and I fill in the gaps of what I think we need, like a tall boot, or a sneaker, and so on.

Among all the indie shoe brands out there, you produce your shoes in Spain in two factories and openly disclose this with your fans on Instagram with #miistaproductionspain. Why is it important to let people know the origins of shoe production through Instagram?

We are proud to still be making the shoes in Europe and we are proud to work with these factories. We love to show the behind the scenes to everyone, so they can better understand Miista and the quality, dedication, and product development that goes into each and every shoe.

Do you feel that social media gives you more power to speak up about issues in the fashion industry?

Through social media we express who we are, using the photos as an extension of our personality. As we continue to transition Miista's customer base, we use it more and more to aim our products at a luxury audience and to voice our opinions on pertinent issues.

What other aspects in the fashion industry do you hope to change?

I'll continue improving Miista until we get to a point where we're comfortable before we start trying to change the industry. I feel our products do already alter the industry, though. We offer things you can't get elsewhere. That's changing it, right?

You introduced this new concept for sales, where the prices drop with each like on Instagram. How did you create this idea?

With this project, we didn't exactly have necessarily the best outcome, but we did come up with a very cool sale campaign idea, based off of one we did a few years back called #TweetItCheaper. This was the same idea but was on Twitter, so it was easier to share and spread the idea quickly. Also, Twitter has direct links where Instagram doesn't. It was an amazing concept, built through an app, but we won't be using this on Instagram again.

Lastly, what can we anticipate next from Miista and E.Eight?

We are hoping to produce an amazing video, showcasing the handmade products of Miista. We want to show who we are and how dedicated we are through this video and hopefully it will set us apart from other luxury brands who make their shoes in China. With EEight, we plan to expand the brand a lot and hopefully increase brand awareness!