5 Questions with the Designer Behind Westerly Handmade Shoes

Written by Vancouver Design Week(end).


To celebrate the return of Vancouver Design Week(end), we’ve partnered with V.I.A. to highlight some of the outstanding creative minds currently working in Vancouver.

Renee Macdonald is the one woman army behind Westerly Handmade Shoes. She strongly believes in keeping the magic of old world trades alive in our modern landscape. Every shoe is custom made for the wearer and Renee enjoys the process of creating bespoke, personalized products for every customer. Her unique studio is part of this year’s Vancouver Design Week line up.

1. Design is / design can _______?

RM: Design can make life more beautiful and more comfortable.

2. Why does it matter?

RM: A well designed object serves it’s purpose gracefully and fulfills the search for the ‘perfect’ thing. The by-product of this is lessening the accumulation of needless, characterless consumables.

3. What differentiates Vancouver design (from the rest of the world)?

RM: Vancouver’s wet coastal climate fosters design that both stands out and holds up against the elements. There is level of practicality that needs to be woven into the construct of things.

4. What impact is (Vancouver) design having?

RM: We are still a young city. As Vancouverites, we’re finding our way in having influence further afield. In the process of this, there’s a freedom to shape the form and function of objects to suit our needs.

5. What design impacts are you most proud of / what impact potential are you most excited about?

RM: Using design as a tool to develop a relationship with the people and things around you is what I find to be perhaps the most exciting element of the creative process.

Vancouver Design Week(end) runs from May 12 – 14. Events include open studios, tastings, behind the scenes tours of the city’s stand out architectural spaces and more. If you’re a local designer, design organization or simply a design-minded thinker, you can get involved by visiting vancouverdesignwk.com.